Good thing she doesn't need a password to get into heaven. That's what Donna Spinner often mutters when she tries to remember the growing list of letter-number-and-symbol codes she's had to create to access her various online accounts.
"At my age, it just gets too confusing," says the 72-year-old grandmother who lives outside Decatur, Illinois.
But this is far from just a senior moment. Frustration over passwords is as common across the age brackets as the little reminder notes on which people often write them.
"We are in the midst of an era I call the 'tyranny of the password,'" says Thomas Way, a computer science professor at Villanova University.
"We're due for a revolution."
One could argue that the revolution is already well underway, with passwords destined to go the way of the floppy disc and dial-up Internet. Already, there are multiple services that generate and store your passwords so you don't have to remember them. Beyond that, biometric technology is emerging, using thumbprints and face recognition to help us get into our accounts and our devices. Some new iPhones use the technology, for instance, as do a few retailers, whose employees log into work computers with a touch of the hand.
Still, many people cling to the password, the devil we know -- even though the passwords we end up creating, the ones we CAN remember, often aren't very secure at all. Look at any list of the most common passwords making the rounds on the Internet and you'll find anything from "abc123," ''letmein" and "iloveyou" to --" you guessed it -- use of the word "password" as a password.
Bill Lidinsky, director of security and forensics at the School of Applied Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has seen it all -- and often demonstrates in his college classes just how easy it is to use readily available software to figure out many passwords.
"I crack my students' passwords all the time," Lidinsky says, "sometimes in seconds."
Even so, a good password doesn't necessarily have to be maddeningly complicated, says Keith Palmgren, a cybersecurity expert in Texas.
"Whoever coined the phrase 'complex password' did us a disservice," says Palmgren, an instructor at the SANS Institute, a research and education organization that focuses on high-tech security.
He's teaching a course on passwords to other tech professionals later this summer and plans to tell them that the focus should be on unpredictability and length -- the more characters, the better. (continued...)
© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2014-07-06 @ 12:58pm PT
I am getting to the age where it is difficult to remember my own name. So please remember it for me. Here is my password. tHIS dOG gETS yOU iNTO eVERY tHING I oWN aS wELL AS THE nSA.
Posted: 2014-07-06 @ 10:07am PT
Inventing passwords poisoning. Fortunately, there are password managers and password generators. I also use Sticky Password and I can recommend it.
Posted: 2014-07-01 @ 1:52am PT
Luckily I am not tired anymore, I have been using Sticky Password manager for couple years now, but I can imagine people struggling with dealing with passwords.