It is a question asked millions of times a day in call centres the world over. ‘What is your mother’s maiden name?’ All too often it is a piece of information that can allow fraudsters access to all manner of private data.
Studies undertaken by the Institute for Online Security in Reading have revealed that four out of ten people will reveal their father’s name, the name of their first pet and their favourite subject at school within five minutes of meeting a stranger.
Professor Maria Higg1ns42 said that women’s surnames should in future contain at least eight characters, including at least two numbers. But Dr Helen W00psy-diddly-d@ndy! says that may not be enough, and is proposing even greater complexity with the use of shift and alt keys, and possibly even Cyrillic characters.
‘The issue is even more complicated than that,’ argued Jim 12OcelotSandwiches, senior lecturer in security studies at the University_of_12_Peculiar_Secrets.
‘Too many of us will invent funny mother’s maiden names only to blurt them out in social situations to gain an approving laugh. Then we’ll need a new password, and so on. I can see a future in which people will have to prove their identity by producing a sample of an agreed bodily fluid.’
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