Press-Republican

Columns

May 19, 2013

Passwords becoming too complicated

For many of us, huge portions of our lives are entwined with technology and the online world.

In many ways, this is great. We have easy access to endless information and conveniences. Maintaining friendships from halfway across the world is as easy as a tweet or an Instagram.

The biggest problem with being able to do everything and anything from a laptop computer — or a mobile phone — is that every single thing you do, every virtual place that you visit, requires a password.

This, of course, is for security. Don’t want anyone to steal our identities or empty our bank accounts or order 47 cartons of adult diapers on Amazon.com and have them delivered to our place of business. Unfortunately, passwords have gotten completely out of control.

Once upon a time, they were cute and simple. Easy to remember. Nothing but a formality, really.

Use your first name. Your gerbil’s name. Use “1234” or “password.” What difference did it make? Hackers? What’s a hacker?

Now, however, we are not safe. We are told to use a unique password for every single website we frequent.

I know that, for me, that’s a lot of passwords. I don’t have that many easy-to-remember words to utilize … which I guess is OK, because the experts don’t want you to use easy-to-remember words, because those are easy to break.

I’m told that we should “avoid dictionary words in any language.” Also no dictionary words spelled backwards, and no words “misspelled in a common way.”

They must be on to something; every TV and movie character ever created is able to guess a password — sometimes under the pressure of imminent explosion — within 30 seconds. That’s because no TV villain ever uses ,,#g6Y-)(9xQ> as a password.

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