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We’ve all heard about the importance of having strong passwords that are difficult to crack. But have you given the same thought to the security questions that may also be guarding your accounts? You may not see news coverage about protecting your security questions, but they’re just as important—and vulnerable—as passwords. Learn how to keep your account secure by smartly answering security questions.

The Truth: Do You Dare?

The truth can set your account free—to the wrong people. Answering your account’s security questions truthfully may impede their effectiveness at keeping intruders out. That’s because thorough thieves could track down the answers to these questions with a little detective work. For example, the answers to questions such as “Where did you attend high school?” or “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” may just be a Facebook search away, depending on you and your family’s privacy settings.

Even if you’ve been diligent about keeping your personal information private, it’s possible one of your online accounts had its security answers exposed in a data breach, leaving you vulnerable if you’ve reused any.

What Are Your Options?

So, if the truth can put your account at risk, what are you supposed to do? Ideally, you make up answers that are as secure as your passwords. That means you might not say your mother’s maiden name is “Robinson” or “Moore,” but something like “Xj4$Q@!” Of course, as secure as answers like that may be, you may find them difficult to remember. Try using the same techniques you learned while making passwords, such as creating memorable acronyms, to help you remember your answers. You might also choose to employ a password manager to store and create strong passwords and security answers.

Other Account Security Tips

  • Scan your computer for viruses and malware. If your computer is infected by a malicious program from the web, your accounts may not be secure no matter how good your passwords and questions are. Use reputable anti-virus software to protect your computer and accounts.
  • Update your devices, internet browsers and apps. Most computers, smartphones, internet browsers and apps update automatically these days, but double-check to be sure you’re receiving all the important security updates needed to keep your accounts safe.
  • Never reuse passwords or security answers. If a hacker ever uncovers your information for one account, your other accounts will be put at risk.
  • Only use secure connections. Information that’s sent over the internet is at risk of being intercepted unless you’re on a secure connection. This means you should look for a padlock symbol and “https” next to the web address at the top of your browser and avoid using Wi-Fi connections that are publicly accessible.

Keep Your Navy Federal Account Secure

We make your account security a top priority. Learn more about what we do at Navy Federal Credit Union to protect your account and find more security tips at our Security Center.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.