Google has recently performed a study in order to determine how secure security questions really are. The study found that most answers provided to security questions are immediately forgotten as they may be too hard to remember. Ironically, the answers that are easier to remember are, at the same time, easier to hack, hence they are not recommended for the protection of your Internet profiles. Users, who want to safeguard their online data should take into account Google’s own tricks for strengthened security questions.
The search giant is currently in charge of the online data of billions of worldwide users. That being said, it comes as no surprise that Google has dedicated the past few weeks to the study of the reliability of security questions.
The recent findings have revealed that most questions that are addressed in order to increase profiles’ security, do not actually guarantee protection. This happens because most people choose answers that are hard to remember or they simply give fake answers thinking that they could, thus, trick hackers. Google found, on the contrary, that the faker the answers, the more chances there are to forget them.
The search giant has also provided an alternative for users who want to use more powerful answers and, hopefully some they can actually remember. According to Anti-Abuse Research Lead Elie Bursztein and Software Engineer Ilan Caron, the safest way to remember your choice for security questions is to provide only those answers related to your city of birth or your father’s middle name.
Unfortunately, the study has shown that these easy-to-remember questions are at the same time, the easiest to guess. Hackers and unwanted third parties can easily guess these answers as they are all too common. Researches have shown that there are 39 percent chances of guessing the city of birth of Koreans as there aren’t many options in this area.
Furthermore, tests have shown that there are 21 percent chances, within 10 tries, to guess the father’s middle name for most Spanish inhabitants. A similar percent (24%) was registered for the question “What’s your teacher’s middle name?” within Arabian respondents.
Bursztein and Caron, on the other hand, warn people that the most unreliable security question remains, however, “What’s your favorite food?” 43 percent of the questioned persons replied with the answer “pizza”, therefore, tech developers at Google have managed to guess them all within just 10 tries.
Google concluded the study by suggesting online users not to use multiple security questions as this strategy would make the answers all the more difficult to remember. They advise site owners to use back-up codes in parallel to security questions if they can’t completely remove these inquiries.
The best way to remember a password or an answer to a secret question is, in Bursztein’s opinion, to provide your favorite children’s rhyme or song. The third letter of each word may be added to form a new and unbeatable password. Based on her recent findings, this new password is automatically remembered by our brain after just a few uses.
Another useful tactic you can adopt when trying to safeguard your accounts is to give longer strings of words, instead of shorter answers. The author of the test concluded the interview by saying that ‘mybestfriendsnameisbobhelivesintucson’ is a far more reliable password or answer than ‘7Y$u4r’ for instance.
Image Source: Wp.com