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How to Choose Good Security Questions?

Security questions are an integral component of safe internet usage that serves as a back-up measure to authenticate an application or website’s user, in case the user is not able to remember his or her password and/or username. Along with their respective answers, the security questions function as important pieces of information that are used frequently for the verification of account ownership. Security questions also provide an alternative to identify the users of online service, in case they forget the password or try to log in from an unfamiliar location or device.

What Makes a Good Security Question?

A good security question is one that allows users to authenticate themselves without having to worry about the infiltration of their accounts. Creating security in a question that is easy, but there are certain points that you must remember to ensure the safety of your account.

• Firstly, the answer to your security question should not be searchable on the internet or guessed. For example, if your security question is related to the country where you were born, it is not safe enough because this information is easily available online.

• Always opt for a security question that you can answer easily and not likely to forget over a period of time. One such example can be the city where your parents met for the first time or the name of your first basketball coach. These details are remembered by most individuals throughout their lives, but can’t be guessed by others.

• Please make sure that your question is simple, and can be answered precisely without any confusion whatsoever. Therefore, it is not advisable to create a security question that just asks when your anniversary is. Instead, the question should specifically ask the day and month of the anniversary. (“What day and month is your anniversary?)

• Stability is another criterion for you to consider. This means that the answer to your security question should be fixed, without any chance of changing in the future. This is why you should never create questions related to your favorite song or office address. Instead, create something around your oldest cousin’s middle name or the name of your first crush in college.

• It is always more difficult to answer questions with multiple probable answers. Therefore, this is one of the critical qualities of a good security question. For example, a question related to the middle name of your first ever class teacher is a good one because there can be many possible answers.

What Kind of Security Questions Should You Avoid?

As we discussed earlier, any security question that is unstable can be guessed or researched online should be avoided. Mentioned below are some typical examples of poor security questions.

• Which sport did you like the most on schooldays? – This is a poor question because most of us do reveal these details through our social media profiles.

• In which city was your first job? – Finding out this information is a cakewalk, particularly if you have a LinkedIn account.

• Which primary school did you attend? – Again, this can also be found out from social media platforms.

• What is your favorite song? This is not a good question because the answer is inconsistent as it may change over time.

So, now you understand the difference between good and bad security questions, and how a robust security question can help protect your online security. To conclude this discussion, remember that safe internet usage is a lifestyle choice and security questions are just a part of it. Therefore, your security passwords will only keep you safe, if you follow adequate security measures to back them up.


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