When someone tries to reset a password, they’re often able to do so by answering security questions. Unfortunately, many of these questions are asking for information that’s either publicly available or very easy to find: Your date of birth, the name of your first pet, or your mother’s maiden name, for example. If an account doesn’t have two-step verification and you’re concerned about the possibility of someone trying to reset your account, consider giving the wrong answers for these questions.
You can make up a false location, date, or name, or answer a different question than the one asked—giving a place of birth when asked about a maiden name, for example. The only drawback with this approach is that can, of course, be difficult to remember what your security answers are, so make sure to store them in a safe place.
Yael Grauer is a freelance tech journalist covering online privacy and surveillance for WIRED, Forbes, Slate, and other publications. Find her at http://yaelwrites.com or on Twitter @yaelwrites, and check out her free ebook on staying safer online at https://yaelwrites.com/saferonline.pdf.
Check out more digital hygiene tips:
- Removing public data
- Privacy protection on domain names
- Https everywhere
- Anonymous “Tor” cloak or VPN
- Prepare for a DDos attack
- Two-step verification
- Privacy plug-ins/cookies
- Third-party permissions
- Image “hidden pixels”
- Links and attachments
- Install patches and updates
- Use a password manager/strong password
- Strengthen security questions
- Encrypt hard drive/backup data
- Click to play
- Use end-to-end encryption