Recovery with Secret Questions – Sometimes the answers are long lost secrets as well…

Password recovery or reset often requires answers to questions that were answered when the account was set up, possibly years ago. Many questions are not well thought out. Such as; “What country would you like to visit?” This may not be the same answer forever. If you answered this sort of question 10 years ago, you may have different travel dreams now.

Many folks do not like providing factual personal information as answers to security questions. The reluctance is understandable. However, failing to write these fake answers down leads to possible future failures on recovery efforts.

I am currently working with a client whose children gave her an iPad several years ago. Apple takes account security very seriously, and because the password was incorrectly entered several times, they have disabled her AppleID, which in turn disabled the iPad. The only way to recover her use of the iPad requires the reset her AppleID password. We are in the process of getting in touch with each of her children and attempting to piece together the answers that Apple requires. Each time it is incorrectly answered, we have to wait a day to try again. If we don’t get it right, the iPad is un-recoverable and will need to be replaced.

WRITE IT DOWN, and store it in a secure place. It is very common for clients to have a notebook of passwords. It is also very common for these notebooks to have numerous edits, strikethroughs and other manner of corrections. Often there are scraps of paper stuck in the notebook, and no good way to tell which is the current information. I suggest that you leave plenty of space between entries in your notebook, for edits as the years go by. Date each new entry, and make sure it is legible.

Take the time to accurately document your passwords, and security questions for each of your online accounts. It is worth spending the time to ensure that you have this information for every account you have. Realizing that you are locked out of an account, and there aren’t any good notes, can lead to expense and anxiety.