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Frequently Asked Question #287. What is a secret question and how do I use it?

LiveJournal has created the secret question as an alternate method of restoring access to your account in case you have forgotten your password and cannot access any of the email addresses associated with your LiveJournal account. Think carefully about adding a secret question, as it is another way into your account.
You can set up the secret question and answer at the Secret Question page. You may select from a list of suggested secret questions or write your own question. After choosing a question, provide an answer to it, and this question/answer pair will become your set of keys for restoring access to your journal.

If you have previously set up the secret question option, know your username, but have forgotten your password, use the following procedure:

  1. At the Lost Information page type in your username and (optionally) one of the email addresses associated with your account and then click on "Proceed".
  2. LiveJournal will send an email to the address you specified (or the current address on file for your username). This email will contain a link that you can click to create a new password for your journal.
  3. If you had previously activated the "Secret Question" option, you will see a note stating that if you lack access to your email, you can return to this page no sooner than 5 days from the current time to continue. The 5 day waiting period was chosen for security reasons: if somebody attempts to break into your journal using the secret question option, you will have enough time to respond to such threat, since you will receive an email warning that somebody has attempted to reset the password to your account.
  4. When you visit the Lost Information page after the 5 days have passed, you'll be asked to again provide your username and click on "Proceed". You will be redirected to a new page, where you can reset your password with the help of the secret question. The page will display the question you chose and a field in which to type your answer. The answer you enter must match exactly the answer on file for your account (case-sensitive and appropriate punctuation if needed).
  5. Once you have successfully answered the secret question, you'll be given an opportunity to immediately reset your password.
  6. If you answer incorrectly 3 times in a row, the system will prevent you from resetting the password for an additional 5 days. You will also be sent an email notifying you that an attempt to reset your password with the help of the secret question has failed. This email will provide the date, time and IP address from which the attempt was made.
  7. A successful log-in to your LiveJournal account will reset the counter of unsuccessful attempts and the date of the latest request for password recovery.

Last Updated: September 13th, 2009

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