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In the meantime, if you’re currently a Yahoo e-mail account holder, there are several things you can do to improve the security of your information:

• Link your account to another one. If you forget your password with your Yahoo account, you can have your password reset instructions e-mailed to your other e-mail address, instead of being asked the default generic questions.

• Answer the questions with a number. If you must answer that your dog’s name is Rover, set up the answer as Rover99 instead. That makes it harder for a would-be attacker to get in.

• Use a synonym. Instead of saying “Rover,” type in a description of your dog. Just make sure to remember it exactly as you typed it in if you ever need to remember.

If none of the above proves satisfying, you can always switch e-mail providers. Gmail, the e-mail service offered by Google, allows you to specify your own password-hint questions as does Microsoft’s Windows Live service.

Matthew Sheffield is a Web consultant and creator of NewsBusters.org. E-mail: msheffield.times@gmail.com.