Falling Over Fallback Password Questions

Some major sites on the Web want to know: What was the last name of your kindergarten teacher, the name of your dog, your mother’s maiden name, the brand of your first car or in what year did you graduate from high school?

These are some of the commonly asked “fallback questions” that Web sites pose to users who need to reset their passwords. Some are just as difficult to remember as the password itself. Others are easily guessable (here’s a list of common pet names, for example.)

Internet companies want us to pick complex, hard-to-guess passwords. As memory-challenged Web addicts, many of us are hopeless at the task. So we resort to punishing our brains to recall which fallback question we selected when registering on the site, and what, darnit, was the name of that kindergarten teacher anyway?

Full article in the NYT here. Article goes on to discuss another method of password recovery that a company has developed.