Jan 13, 2012

New Year's Resolutions with LastPass: #5 Generate Your Answers to "Security Questions"

While the password generator is key for diversifying and strengthening your account passwords, it's also a great tool for providing answers to common "security questions" for your accounts.

Security answers are often included as a second form of login verification or as part of an account recovery process, most frequently with online financial institutions and email accounts. Although many sites have made an effort in recent years to increase the obscurity of the security questions (at least, we hope they're generally better than this), the fact remains that the answers to common security questions are more accessible than ever before. Even if you're not a high-profile target, by generating answers with the LastPass password generator you'll help reduce the risk that someone may use security questions to compromise your accounts.

When registering for new sites that require an answer to a security question, it's simple to quickly generate an "answer" and add it to the new site entry stored in LastPass.

Let's say you're signing up for a new Gmail account. After going through the set-up process, we go into the account settings to create a security question & answer for account recovery purposes.

After selecting a question from the drop-down options, we go to the LastPass Icon, choose the Tools menu, and open the "Generate Secure Password" feature:
When the dialog opens, you can check "Show Advanced Options" to customize your generated password:

Click "generate" to create a new password with your customized options, then "copy" to copy the password to your clipboard. Go back to the security answer field, and paste the generated password. After confirming that your new answer is accepted by the site, you can go to your LastPass Icon, click on the site name listed at the bottom of the menu, and open the "edit" dialog. Paste the generated password in the Notes, also noting which security question you chose.

If you know you're using personal information for security answers, set aside some time to login to those accounts, generate a new "answer" with LastPass, and store the update in your site entry. Accounts for online banking, email, social media, and credit cards are all good places to start.

Generating answers with LastPass doesn't directly affect your Security Check score, but it will improve your overall online security.

The LastPass Team