I have a savings account and some CD’s with ING. They had pretty good interest rates and it was convenient dealing with them online. Then they started instituting different security measures. Whereas most places let you choose a username that makes sense, they assigned an 8-digit number that you had to use. Then you picked out a PIN. That was okay and eventually I memorized my number. Then they started a keypad thing where they would have the number pad with letters on each number key on screen and you would type in each corresponding letter instead of the number for your PIN. The letters changed every time. This made you think a lot harder, but I guess protected you from programs that capture key strokes.
Then they instituted SiteKey. Bank of America had done this and it wasn’t so bad. But part of that was they ask you questions. Your mother’s maiden name isn’t good enough. They ask you for your first pet’s name or you best friend in grade school or high school mascot. These are used to verify a particular computer and then you don’t have to answer that question again. However, the first time I was asked the questions, I forgot the answers. I think I had considered the first pet to be the first pet I remembered having as a kid (Tacia?), rather than the first pet I owned myself (Katie). Anyway, it gave me no way of e-mailing the answers to myself and no other way to log on. It didn’t even ask me other questions. So for the first time in three years I actually had to call and talk to someone at ING, defeating the whole purpose of an internet bank.
The other problem with this is that if these answers are going to be used to establish my ID, then it is like giving out a Social Security Number or mother’s maiden name. I don’t want it falling into the wrong hands and it is somewhat likely that ING would be hacked at some point. I told ING that I would no longer do business with them as a result of their silly security policies. As my CD’s mature, I am moving the money to PayPal, which pays more interest anyway.
Soon, however, Vanguard instituted SiteKey as well and Jeb said that everybody would be doing it soon. They asked some of the same and some new personal questions that are really nobody’s business. To remember all of these answers I was going to have to write them down anyway, so I decided to just make up answers. At first I was going to use expletives, but then I decided to just use random funny words. So now the answer to What was the make of your first car? might be “flatulence.”
I think this will be much more secure than giving the actual answers and also the answer to What is your favorite color? would be different from site to site. In one place it might be “bespectacled” and at another “pajamas.”