When I was in high school, one was expected to know two or three key numbers: your locker combination, your home phone number, and your home address. Optionally, you should know the phone number and address on any fake IDs in your possession, just in case you were questioned at the Hog’s Breath Saloon – which was highly unlikely. Other than that, life was pretty simple in terms of remembering any numbers, combinations, or passwords.
Much has changed since then. Today, I need to have a password just to use my phone. I must have a different password to unlock my password application on my phone. Within my password app, I manage 50 other passwords. There are several of these apps to choose from – I happen to use 1Password for iOS. Within this application are the keys to everything: social media sites, online stores, websites, financial services, games, email, internet access, etc.
For security reasons, the guy who sold me my phone strongly suggested that I do not use a password application to keep up with my passwords. He obviously grossly overestimated my intelligence. So, I guess he expected me to remember 50 different random combinations of letters and numbers. I barely remember what I had for breakfast. For me, the password application works fairly well, meaning I actually know my password about half the time.
If I don’t have my phone with me, or if my phone battery is dead, then I can’t access my password app. So, I then change my password, and forget to update my app. In addition, my 50 plus passwords must all be changed periodically – another opportunity to get things out of order. Buying a new phone can also be troublesome – my password app syncs data with Dropbox. So, upon buying a new phone, I need to remember my phone password, then my password application’s password, then my Dropbox password so I can then get my other passwords. All this is necessary just to see that someone posted a new cat picture on Facebook – arrgh.
Until a couple of years ago, I could use a creative password like “Mark” on everything. Now, every device or site has warnings like, “Password must be 15 characters long, contain numbers, letters, and symbols, and can never have your name, repeating letters or numbers, etc.” So, you end up with passwords that are impossible to remember – like $4aJk*#3t:P0#^_+RtyB62.
My big idea for 2015 is simple – would someone please invent something that makes this easier? I wish my password for everything was a retinal scan, finger print, drop of blood, or my voice saying a secret word. Some North Korean hacker would struggle saying “Dale Earnhardt rules” with a southern accent, making all my sites impenetrable. On the one-in-a-trillion chance that my Facebook page was hacked, having a total stranger in North Korea secretly viewing my friend’s new cat pics wouldn’t be that big of a disaster anyway.
Marc Falardeau. Enter Your Password. August 21, 2011. Online image. Flickr. URL.