When you set up your STCU online banking profile, we ask you to pick five secret questions and provide answers to them. We give you lots of choices — a total of 40 questions (five batches of eight questions) from which to choose. None of the questions are particularly easy — most ask about your most or least favorite things, or about things from your younger years.
Why such a complicated arrangement? Because regulators lay down strict rules to govern the security of a financial institution's online banking system:
- Passwords aren't enough:
Regulators dictate that your username and password isn’t enough. They insist that we employ additional measures to protect your accounts from unauthorized access.
- We've gotta mix it up:
For institutions like STCU that use secret questions for extra security, these questions must be "dynamic." That means we must have multiple questions and answers on file for each user each with their own unique answers (they can't all use the same answer), and users can’t be presented with the same questions over and over. We have to mix up these questions.
- We've gotta make it tough:
For institutions like STCU that use secret questions, the questions must be pretty hard. We’re penalized if we offer questions like “what’s your father’s middle name?” It’s too easily figured out by bad guys looking on Ancestry.com or similar websites. The same goes with questions about hobbies or current interests that might be posted on your Facebook page. Regulators even discourage letting members create their own custom questions — average folks almost always create questions that are way too easy for bad guys to guess. So, we have the questions we do because those are the ones that are the best of what’s left.
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