If you forget the password to your web based email services like Gmail, YahooMail or Hotmail, then they ask you a predetermined security question to answer. It is supposed that the answer to that security question will be known to only the legitimate user and thus, he can recover his password.

This is a usual practice followed by almost all of the web based emails and other applications also.

Are These Security Questions Really Secured

But the issue is that many of these security questions are not that secured. There are many people around you; your friends, your relatives, your neihjbors, who know a lot about your personal lives on which some of these questions are based.

For instance:

  • What is your Mother’s Birthplace > Many of my relatives know it.
  • What is your Library Card Number > Don’t you think it is easy for anybody with a contact with my library to know my library card number.
  • Where did you first met your spouse > Many of the people who might have attended your marriage must be aware about that.
  • Where did you spent your honeymoon > Oh c’mon, even my travel agent knows it

Can you see the trend. A determined hacking approach against you can easily reveal the answer to your security questions and expose the answer.

The situation worsens with the availability of service like ZabaSearch and Pipl, which allow you to search a lot of personal information about a person over Internet. As long as these security questions are common-to-all type, you cannot be sore about the privacy of your email account.

But Gmail allows you to frame your own security question. You can make it as hard as possible and as convenient as you desire. Recently YahooMail has also started following this practice of allowing you to frame your own security question.

But Hotmail (Windows Mail) has yet to incorporate this feature. See the following screenshots.

Gmail Security Question:


Yahoo Mail Security Question:


Hotmail Security Question:


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