Worst security questions… ever.

I went to buy an old TZU album on iTunes tonight and was asked to enter my iTunes password twice, followed by this weird ‘Security Info’ screen I had never seen before.

This is the full list of questions and my responses

Question 1 requires you to select an answer from one of the following questions:

  • What was the first car you owned? The first car I owned was a 1996 White Ford Falcon Panelvan I called ‘Panno’. So, should I enter ‘Ford Falcon’, or ‘Ford Falcon Panelvan’ or even ‘Ford Falcon Panel Van’, or maybe for fun ‘Panno the White Ford Falcon’? What’s the chance that at some point I’ll correctly recall what I specifically entered?
  • Who was your first teacher? I seriously can’t remember who my first teacher was. Was it my kindergarten teacher?  Or is it my first school teacher? Unless you’re under 18, I doubt you’d remember your first teacher either.
  • What was the first album you owned? Surely if anyone Apple would know you don’t actually own an album, you only own a license to listen to it.
  • Where was your first job? Was this when I helping my parents out in their Cafe when I was 12? Or was it when I was at Uni? Or my first ‘real job’?
  • In which city were you first kissed? By my parents when I was a baby? On the cheek by the girl in Year 2? Or was it my first pash in high school?

Question 2 requires you to select an answer from one of the following questions:

  • Which of the cars you’ve owned has been your favourite? I would say my Ford Falcon Panelvan but Apple won’t let me! My first car can’t be my favourite! Ahhhhhhh! The horror!
  • Who was your favourite teacher? Again, Apple won’t let me say my first teacher was my favourite teacher, and even though I might remember the name of my favourite teacher, I don’t remember exactly: was it ‘Ms Dwyer’, or was that ‘Mrs Dwyer’, or ‘Sherry Dwyer’ I think her name was.
  • What was the first concert you attended? I think my parents took me to a Play School Concert when I was 5. Does that count?
  • Where was your favourite job? The recollection of my favourite job today will probably not be my recollection of my favorite job when I need to reset my password in 5 years time.
  • Who was your best childhood friend? Again, do I write ‘Tim’ or ‘Tim Rose’ or I think his actual name was ‘Timothy Rose’

Question 3 requires you to select an answer from one of the following questions:

  • Which of the cars you’ve owned has been your least favourite? Well, it was actually my Ford Falcon Panelvan, because whilst it was a fantastically practical and fun car, it was expensive to run and maintain. But Apple says no, my first car can’t be my favourite car, and my favourite car can’t be my least favourite car.
  • Who was your least favourite teacher? I can’t remember the bastard’s name.
  • Where was your least favourite job? Because every job I take from now can’t be my least favourite.
  • In which city did your mother and father meet? FFS, seriously? Was it Sydney? Or Glebe in Sydney? Or it might have been Tamworth. But that’s not really a city, it’s more of a town.
  • Where were you on January 1, 2000? I am sorry but I have no idea, I could have spent the weekend in Sydney, but again, I wouldn’t know.

What a ridiculous set of questions. I thought Apple were notorious for sweating the small stuff, but from this set of questions it’s obvious they have no clue what they’re doing.

I can’t answer those questions so instead I’ll click ‘cancel’ and maybe go and buy that record in a record store tomorrow. That, or fire up bit-torrent, it’s just less painful.

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

3 thoughts on “Worst security questions… ever.”

  1. You know you don’t have to answer the question as asked, right? I just come up with a distinctive answer that the question reminds me of. So a question about a car gets the car I remember the best. Teacher? Likewise. It doesn’t matter if it asks first, favorite, most recent, whatever. If it’s asking about a teacher, I always give the same answer.


  2. I am with you Al, it was ridiculous and painful. The other thing I would add to this is that even if I could remember the right answers to these questions, would I really want Apple to know the answers? Don’t they know enough about me already?


  3. Maura, my rules-lawyer tech writer had to go through the same set of questions and here approach was similar to what Charles indicated.. for where first kissed I think she feels “Cheek” is a perfectly good answer.

    I would far far rather that I get to define my own question, but of course that would lead to things like “what is the average airspeed of an unladen swallow”


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