gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Questionable Facebook security questions

January 06, 2011 @ 12:52 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

I logged into Facebook this morning and was greeted with a series of questions to update my security information so that in the event I can’t login using my main email address I can use some alternate method to change my password. One of the options was to provide an answer to one of four questions:

None of these are terribly good questions, except perhaps for the first one. Now, of course one could make up a random answer to the question, such as cagtavVeHats, but that makes it less likely you’ll remember it when you need it.

But one question in particular struck me as ill-conceived, namely the “What are the last five characters of your driver’s license?” question. Facebook gathers a disturbing amount of information about its users such as birthdates, phone numbers, addresses and so on. Some people may have given them credit card or debit card numbers if they have bought something from Facebook. Why would you want to add any part of your driver’s license number to this collection of information?

I haven’t seen many worse security questions, except for one site that wanted me to enter either the first few or last few digits (I don’t recall which) of my social insurance number, something I won’t even allow my bank to use as a security question for telephone banking. Oh, and there was a site that wanted part of a travel points card number.

So, when you’re picking the question your best option is to invent an answer for the question and definitely not give them part of your driver’s license number. Don’t make it easy for the bad guys when they steal your information from Facebook.

5 Responses to “Questionable Facebook security questions”

  1. The driver’s licence one is HORRIBLE for Ontario people. The last 5 of someone I know, for example are 90113, and I know that just from knowing some simple, easy to obtain personal information about that person. I don’t need to know anything about their driving, insurance, address, and so on.

    A tall person we know would be 90526. You can guess at the number of anyone in Ontario with ease.

    • gordon says:

      I believe at one point that women’s driver’s licenses in Ontario were not afflicted by the same easy to guess information. Is that still the case?

  2. No. The information is there with a mild obfuscation. I can’t rember what it is at the moment, but it’s easily guessed.

  3. James says:

    Ontario DL numbers for women simply have 5 added to the first number of the birth-month.

    ie. Someone born in May would be 05 (male) and 55 (female); or someone born in November would be 11 (male) and 61 (female). Not really all that tricky, though back in the day before the card licenses when it was photo and paper and easier to forge, there have been more than one young girl trying to sneak in the bar claiming she was a man (at least based on her DL number).

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