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Security Awareness

Secret Question and Answer Pairs

Setting secret question and answer pairs allows you to reset your MyID account password online.  They can also be used to verify your identity online or on the phone when you call the EITS Help Desk.

To protect your identity and your MyID account, it is important to make strong answers for your secret questions.

Tips for Making Strong Answers for Your MyID Secret Questions

The best secret question answers have four common characteristics. They are:

  1. Safe (The answers can't be easily guessed or researched.),
  2. Stable (The response will not change -  Example: Where did you lose your first tooth? will always be answered: At Aunt Jane's house.),
  3. Memorable (So you won't forget it.),
  4. Definitive or simple (Something that requires a specific answer - Example: What year and in what city did you buy your first car? requires a safe, stable, memorable and specific answer.).

It's difficult to create answers that meet all four characteristics. At a minimum, when considering questions & answers:

  1. Avoid picking answers that are well known to your friends, displayed on Facebook or common knowledge
  2. Avoid picking answers that can easily be found on Google
  3. Avoid picking answers that you will not be able to remember
  4. Avoid Answers that have fewer than eight (8) characters
  5. Avoid picking questions that have a limited set of answers (Like “What is my favorite day of the week?”)

The single best practice is to pick an answer that has no relationship to the question, but which you will nonetheless be able to remember. A short phrase works very well, as does something that fits the safe, stable and memorable characteristics listed above. For instance:

Q: What was your childhood nickname?
A: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. (A quote from Oscar Wilde.)

OR

Q: On what street did you live as a child?
A: 1973 Volkswagon Baja Bug (Your secret dream car.)

Once you have created your new security questions and answers, you need to keep them secure. Treat them like your password:

  1. Never share your questions and answers with anyone.
  2. Do not write them down.
  3. Never send this information by email.
  4. Periodically select different questions.

If you ever suspect that your MyID has been compromised, please reset your MyID password and contact the Office of Information Security.