Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pet Peeves: Ridiculous Security Questions

The COG is filling out a banking thing online and he has to choose four security questions from a list.  We hate hate HATE these security questions, which are required by many online sites we use.  A security question should have one unique, clear and singular response.  These do not. Plus, they must have been written by someone raised in a two-parent family in the suburbs, who never moved, who went to one elementary school and one high school etc and who has not lived more than 3 decades.

These are the choices on the list from which the COG must choose four questions, plus a few of my objections to each one:

In what city was your high school?  The COG didn't attend high school because he was educated in a different country and, thus, attended grammar school. Also, city names are a little more complex and non-singular in that country because it is so old. My family moved, so I attended high schools in two different cities.  

What is your mother’s middle name? What if your mother had more than one middle name, or used her maiden name as a middle name?  Which one do you choose?   What if you were adopted? How would the Jolie-Pitts answer this question?

In what year were you married?  What if you were married more than once, or never married?

What is the name of your best friend from high school? Please, was this list written by a 12 year old?

What's the name of your favorite restaurant?  There are people who have a favorite restaurant? 

What was the name of your favorite school teacher? The 12 year old writing again? I can barely remember the names of my school teachers, much less pick a favorite.

What's the name of your first pet? Which one -  the one my Grandparents had when we lived with them? Then there were two cats, how would I remember which one was the 'first'?   The COG never had a pet growing up, his parents had animals only after he left home. 

What model was your first car?  Why would I remember this?  I'm not sure I know the model of the car I'm driving now. Also, strange by true, there are people who have never owned a car.

What was the zip code of the town you grew up in?  Zip codes were first used in 1963.  There are many of us who grew up before then, in zip-code-less towns. Second, others of us grew up in countries that do not have zip codes at all.

What was the name of the street you grew up on?  Which time? We moved a lot and I've done a lot of growing up.

The COG once had trouble with this one on a different site.  When they asked him at a later time for the answer to this 'security question' he kept getting it wrong. Why?  Because he grew up on 'Brick Yard Lane,' so that's what he answered. It turned out that it would only accept 'Brick,' a single word response.

We have had security questions on other sites which asked for your favorite film, your favorite song, your favorite book,  and your favorite color - these are just plain stupid questions. Actual adults do not have only one 'favorite' anything and, thus, cannot answer these questions.

I know security is supposedly for our protection, but  so often, and in so many ways,  I feel much more harrassed by 'security precautions'  than I feel endangered by the problem they say they are preventing.

I send this plea to the universe... there must be someone out there who can think of a different way to do this.  Please, please do it. You'll make a fortune, while making me happy. 


David Briggs said...

I always look at such questions as less "which is (or was) your favorite" and more along the lines of "what is (or was) the most memorable". Or in other words, tell us something about you which you will remember and which (perhaps) someone who doesn't know you wouldn't most probably know.

So if the question asked is for example, the name of your first pet, then choose one, but not the name of any animal you currently own. So for example, I would choose either Nipper, Clipper, Chinook, or Susie (the rat), or even Jammer or Percy, but if I were Vivi for example, I would not choose either Harry or Tasha.



peaceable_tate said...

Maybe whoever answers this could also find an answer to the password problem.