When signing up for online bank accounts, new email addresses, or health insurance accounts, they all ask you or force you into using security questions to add an extra layer of protection to your account. The problem is that most these security questions are not very secure. The most common question is "Your mother's maiden name" and one that is easy to guess or research. In fact, if someone gains the correct access to your personal information, it can affect you credit score.
With that, we urge everyone to take matters into your own hands and make security questions more secure. How do you do that? Well, security questions often ask you questions about your life. This is information anyone can potentially figure out from your social media accounts or data breaches, like the Equifax hack. With all of that data online, figuring out the first car you bought, street you lived on when you were a kid, or favorite hobby can be easy. Basically, answering truthfully is a bad idea. Below is the best suggestion to make security questions more secure for you.
Seriously, just flat our lie on the answers. First car? List your favorite plane, boat, or motorcycle. First grade teacher? Use the name of your favorite pet or the most disagreeable phrase to describe your first grade teacher, like garbage dump. The point is, as long as the data is not common knowledge, something not searchable online or via your social media, it's a good answer. Incorrect answers are inherently more secure than truthful answers.
Here's the problem with using incorrect answers, it can be hard to keep track of all of those answers. We use 1Password to store all our passwords and security answers here in our daily lives. A password manager is an essential tool in today's world, assisting you in storing all of you passwords securely and helping you to create more secure passwords. Honestly, if you have a password manager, have it generate your "incorrect" security question answers. #$Adke@A is a much harder answer to guess than Jennifer, even though neither are the actual name of your high school prom date.
But what about security questions that have canned answers? Well, you still lie! Just note those answers in your password manager. If they give you an option to create a custom answer in addition to canned answers, then choose that option and create your random answer.
Stay safe out there!
As many smartphone users are becoming aware, their phone number and location is not private when they use their phone to surf the internet. All of their data is mined and can be sold thanks to their mobile advertising id (MAID). It only costs $1,000 to track someone online, according to Wired’s Andy Greenberg. In a nutshell, when you visit a website via your smartphone, both the website and the advertisers on the site have access to your phone's IP address and advertising ID. Your telecom assigns your phone an IP address, since they needs to bill you for data use. Because of this, that IP address is also tired to your billing information. And now your telecom sells your information to third party companies. Those companies allow websites and applications to take your phone's IP address and lookup all of your information on those third party resources. So, a website or application can figure out your phone number, home address, email, and phone location.
The short a simple solution... change your phone's IP address with a VPN with a services, such as Private Internet Access.
Some people may remember that Verizon was stopped by the FCC from using super cookie's. Super Cookie's allowed websites similar tracking features the mobile advertising id. Even though the FCC stopped what Verizon was doing, most telecoms figured out that they already were tracking their users with the IP addresses the assign. And since telecoms have the ability to sell your billing information to advertisers, there is no need for a super cookie. Just dump customer data to a data base, and let advertisers run a search on that data for all the data that matches your IP address. And this is not just something that Americans have to worry about, all customers globally have to worry about this.
Many people are finally starting to understand the sacrifices we make and privacy we give up when we use smartphones. The FCC is supposed to have our back, but we know that's not really the case anymore. But, like I said, many people are starting to connect the dots on their own, about why we get more spam phone calls. One Redditor commented:
“Sprint does it too. Source: I started getting random phone calls from random ass places once I got with sprint.”
Another Redditor had the same issue on another telecom’s service:
“I was with T-Mobile for years and would get 1-2 calls a month from scammers. I switched to Verizon and got them daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. I called Verizon only to have them try and sell me a call blocker service for $4.99/Mo. I downloaded a free can blocker app and have blocked 100+ numbers in 8 months…”
Like I have said before, the easy solution is to change your IP address and browse the web securely to protect your privacy. VPN's allow you to do that. But, it comes at the cost of slower speeds. Until there is legislation that fixes all of these privacy issues, like making everything opt-in, and fines perpetrators, your data and privacy are always at risk. An no, using WIFI is not a good alternative anymore, especially since there is the WPA2 KRACK.