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Security, Shmecurity

5 December 2006

This morning I went to the Web interface for my student loans to schedule my monthly payment, when I was interrupted by a screen which ordered me to set up some verification information. OK, this is pretty typical (although I’ve been paying online for over a year, so I’ve already made up a pretty hack-proof password). The first one was the one we all expect:

What is your mother’s maiden name?

Piece of cake. Easy to remember, not something I mention to strangers, and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of different passwords for different sites.*

I click on Submit, and I get red warning text all over the page: it seems I have to input four different questions. Sigh. All right. What are the other options?

What is the name of your first pet?

Hmm. Do I have to remember the cat Sis #2 cut the whiskers off of at the first apartment we lived in here in the US? (I don’t think I ever knew that cat’s name! I was only 3 and didn’t speak English!)

What was the last name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend?

…Uhhh, this isn’t a good one. What exactly constitutes a boyfriend? Paul O asking me to the bowling alley in 4th grade? And confusing: the first name of my last, or did you say the last of my first…?

Which sports team did you like as a child?
…Oh, please.

What was the first name of your closest childhood friend?

… This one I can do.

What is the name of favorite fictional character?
Who is your favorite person from history?
What is the last name of your favorite teacher?

…Wait! Too many choices! I read a lot, and, do you mean from a book or from a movie? Are we talking about elementary school, high school, or college?

What’s your hobby?
What’s your favorite car?
What is the place you’d go on your ideal vacation?

…Well, that might change, wouldn’t it? I mean—
What is your favorite restaurant?
What is your favorite place from childhood?
What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite food or drink?

HELP!!!!!! I just want to pay my student loan, not date the darn loan company! This is going too far. I object!**

*This is a fear I have: That I will forget which password goes to which account, and not be able to access important time-sensitive information. Not that I would ever dream of preventing this forgetfulness by “clumping” passwords for similar or related activities. Nooooo, never. *Ahem*

**When I mentioned this to the Consort, he didn’t agree at all. He thought these were very good questions. These were actual security questions. I think that at our age we should be starting to think about Alzheimers (which runs in his family, you know), and these types of questions are dangerous! And too open-ended. And too many!

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