Monday, June 18, 2007

Ziegfeld's Password Follies

Tracey, I feel your pain.

Drives ya nuts, don't it? I mean, they say, "Make the password hard to remember. Your kids' names = BAD. 'MGR!45dLmp' = GOOD." Well, how the flip am I supposed to remember 'MGR!45dLmp' ?? Maybe, by writing it down - which is also verboeten. Soon they'll have programs that will be able to tell that you've written down the password, and they will change it without your permission, and make you prove you are really you before they let you in on it.

At work, they force you to change your password every couple of months, and they track the past six passwords you've used - AND one must use a mix of caps, littles, numbers, and punctuation. And you then have to repeat that process for email, your blog admin (should you have one), any secure websites for bill-paying, your own network password if you run off a secure wireless modem... None of these, by the way, can be, you know - words. They all have to be gibberish that looks like you stole someone's license plate.

At any given moment, I have twelve or so of these typographic nightmares wandering through my brain, only half of which may be active; plus multiple usernames, with no real way to know which of any of them go to what accounts - none of which will give you more than three tries before locking you out of the thing.

Well, I'm sorry, but I don't know that many strings of semi-random ASCII sneezes. Neither can I afford the whole biometrics "rub your finger here" dot that some companies use as security. How about something cheaper that everyone understands - a key. You get a key, you guard it with your life - you actually turn it to turn on your computer, and it keeps track of the info for you.

If it works for nuclear missle launches, then it can work for us, too.

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