Overview#Secret Questions are Questions often used for Password Reset operations.
The 'secret questions' feature is a security anti-pattern. Read the paper from link number 4 from the MUST-READ list. You can ask Sarah Palin about that one, after her Yahoo! email account got hacked during a previous presidential campaign because the answer to her security question was... "Wasilla High School"!
Even with user-specified questions, it is highly likely that most users will choose either:
- A 'standard' secret question like mother's maiden name or favourite pet
- A simple piece of trivia that anyone could lift from their blog, LinkedIn profile, or similar
- Any question that is easier to answer than guessing their password. Which, for any decent password, is every question you can imagine.
In conclusion, security questions are inherently insecure in virtually all their forms and variations, and should not be employed in an authentication scheme for any reason.
The true reason why security questions even exist in the wild is that they conveniently save the cost of a few support calls from users who can't access their email to get to a reactivation code. This at the expense of security and Sarah Palin's reputation. Worth it? Probably not.