Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Ten Characters, at Least Two Digits

How many passwords did you have to remember today? It is a phenomenon of modern-day living that we all have to memorize an exponentially increasing number of passwords, user names, PINs, etc. At my workplace alone I have 6 different login IDs / User Names with 6 different passwords to remember, all of varying lengths from 6 characters to a finger-numbing 16 character minimum. Then, back at home, I have accounts for three webmail addresses, my ISP account, Twitter, Blogger, web hosting accounts, ebay, credit card PINs, ...the list is very nearly endless!

And then of course, a number of these (especially the work-related ones) periodically expire and I have to conjure up another random, and yet easily memorable combination of letters and digits. It would be a superhuman task indeed to commit all of this information to memory and be confident that you will be able to retrieve the correct combination of ID and password when needed. So, what do we do? Most of us resort to either writing them down on Post-It notes, a scrap of paper in the wallet or to using very weak passwords, such as your partner’s name – all three solutions obviously posing very real security risks. Using the same password for a number of different applications is also a very common, but risky, practice.

I wish I had the answer to this problem, but I don’t :-) Hopefully technology will come to our aid in the not-too-distant future. Other identification techniques that could be used, such as fingerprint scanning, retinal identification and facial recognition are all advancing fast and are already being used by some companies. Rolling out these technologies to the wider internet-using public may take some time, but it would at least save my brain, for one, from exploding with information overload!!


Ivanhoe said...

Just stopping by to say hello from Dori's place. I've heard a lot about you, but did not know you had your own blog :o)
Have a great Thursday!

Brit Boy said...

Thank you for stopping by. I've only had my blog going for a little over a week, so it is still a work in progress.
Happy St George's Day!

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