Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Password protected Life.

We all require safety and protection from the big bad world outside. Today I am sitting at my desk well protected and with a sense of security but totally entangled in a web of random numbers and letters. Every moment of this existence, I am reminded that all good things in life come with a price tag and in this case I am almost paying with my mind. I consider myself fortunate that I can still use a key to enter my house (a remote key like the car is in my wish list though) and a keyless biometric provides access at work. I am thankful that keyless access to cars by punching access code did not go too far.
Password has been in existence since time immemorial. I am told that in earlier days sentries would only allow a person or group to pass through or allow access only if they knew the password. The dictionary meaning of the word “password” is a secret word or expression used by authorized persons to prove their right to access, information, etc.
Before we were required to make an effort and somewhat match the signature stored in their record (which was a difficult task by itself) to get our money from the banks. At times we had to explain across the counter how prettier she became over the years to justify some modification to our signature. It did work most of the time!
At the beginning I took it as a challenge to have difficult passwords which was difficult to guess and even more difficult to create. But soon I was inundated as a huge demand for passwords came my way as I needed a user name and password right from reading a online newspaper to accessing the internet banking. Friends came out with ideas: using favorite brand names; pets’ names; friend’s names etc and then spelling those names forwards or backwards or sideways or another possible direction. Slowly I realized that I was getting entangled into the maze of password. Everything I did required a password. If that was not bad enough they started to demand a new password periodically. While some providers only advised a change of passwords, the IT systems at work as well as banks are a bit ruthless. Passwords there come with an expiry date. I had this bright idea to have a set of 3 passwords and keep them rotating. But my plea was summarily dismissed and it refused to accept them fully or partially.
The security priority varies from site to site but we need to bear in mind that if someone is able to crack one he might be able to take a guess how your mind works and it might make cracking the rest. The pundits say that the most difficult passwords to crack are the ones created by a combination of Mixed-case Letters together with numbers (D5x0rJ00dZ, Ur2GooD4Me). It is also the most difficult ones to remember.
I dream of getting liberated from this password trap some day, but till that happen we need to remember that no password is un-crack able and the best we can do is make it difficult and non-trivial to determine our password. Also whatever method we choose, it's a good idea to change the password often.

12 comments:

  1. Passwords are a big bother. I keep forgetting mine. So I have simplified life by having only a few which I keep circulating. But then i forget which is with which, so it's back to square one for me.

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  2. That was a cute post!! passwords and then passwords for password...

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  3. Great post as always, I love the way you think. I HATE passwords with all my heart and soul. As you so eloquently put it, no passwords are un-crackable. I have no idea why we are required to have so many; I think I have 5 or 6, not to mention all the codes to my credit cards and access cards and pins to pretty much every card I own.
    Btw, love your choice of cartoons.;)) Have you ever heard of Gary Larson? He has the greatest comics of all.;)
    Wishing you a Happy Friday .;)

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  4. Same here....but we don't have any other options too....hazards of modern days comforts...i loved the way you transformed your thoughts into this great to read post....

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  5. I am very bad at remembering anything so passwords are not at all my cup of tea..I therefore have a desktop file that stores the passwords of all my stuff..desktop because I might forget where I have saved the file..ohh and the signatures were a bad idea..mine never matched!!

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  6. Very nice, cute and lovely post. I often forget my password but now I have decided to make it simple so that I can easily remember.

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  7. Excellent post,Suman.yes its advisable to change your password as regularly as possible.The hackers are hovering around us!

    BTW LOl @ "At times we had to explain across the counter how prettier she became over the years to justify some modification to our signature." :))

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  8. True security comes with a price. Remembering the password and being able to change them in first attempt when they expire is a big achievement.

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  9. I have only a few passwords that i keep circulating. And forgetting. And the less i say about banking the better. Bankers have a DNA that have been specially designed to make our lives miserable.

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  10. Good post and good advice too.

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  11. Sucharita,
    That is true for most of us. Only problem is that as capacity of the brain is going down, the number of password is increasing.
    But as we know too many big brothers might make life miserable
    Swatantra
    Yes... Its passwords all around and more passwords to protect those
    Protégé,
    You bet …. I am waiting for the day when plastic money will be replaced with biometric. A few projects are underway in the Europe I am informed. There is a supermarket in Germany where you can pay with scanning of your finger which is linked the account…. (My source of information is a BBC documentary)
    Yes... I like Gary Larson cartoons. The far side
    Kavita,
    We really do not have many options. In spite of all these there is so much of cyber crime and cyber world is without borders…
    Sujata,
    I guess you would welcome the biometric system as much as I would.
    I was down to Cal for a week and hence this silence. Thanks for asking.

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  12. Babli,
    You won’t believe how many times the web pages used to email me my password. Now I use something that is easier to remember.
    Deeps,
    Thanks! Yes the hackers use keyboards sniffers and what not….
    You got it… You know it really works with some people... not that I am an expert applying this formula… formula 44 I guess they call such problem solver equations!
    Rajesh,
    I do believe that one day we will be liberated from all these.
    Aparna,
    Shhh! They might be hearing... They got all your money and might decide not to give back!!
    Don’t worry in a few years from now there will be no need for passwords. All you have to do is to make naughty eyes to a special machine and Voila!
    Gaelikaa,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for visiting and do comeback sometimes

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