Living with Technology / Keeping track of patchwork of passwords
Published 6:56 am, Wednesday, October 2, 2013
As I have more and more "accounts" with places, especially online Web sites, I find the challenge of keeping track of the login credentials (username and password) harder and harder.
While I like the idea of having a single password for everything, that's risky because if someone finds my password, they would have carte blanche access to every site I visit.
And changing the password for hundreds of sites would be darn near impossible -- even if I could remember the sites themselves.
Even if I try to use a favorite password, some sites require some or more of the following: lower case letters, UPPER CASE letters, numbers (1,2,3,4,5) and/or special characters (!#?/).
There's no consistency in how passwords must be formulated. And every site enforces their own rules.
There's no password that I can create that would be acceptable at every site.
Oh yeah, don't forget length. Some sites would quite happily accept the password "a." Most, however require a password to be longer than that, typically a minimum of four characters up to a maximum of 30 characters. I just used a site last week that required a specific length of 6 characters -- including upper case, lower case, numbers AND a special character!
Needless to say, keeping track of passwords is a pain, so most people won't do it.
There are tools that can be used to keep track of these passwords for you, such as LastPass (www.lastpass.com) or 1Password (https://agilebits.com/onepassword).
My main concern is that with more and more of our lives being online, if someone compromises our login credentials, we have much at risk, in particular financial and identity theft.
There are movements afoot to require an additional form of authentication. Apple's new iPhones include a fingerprint scanner. We've all seen retina scanners in movies, but those are still a few years away.
Financial and other high security people have for years had a little keyfob that generates a unique key every time they log on.
The idea with each of these items is to provide an additional layer (or two) of protection to ensure that only the person who is supposed to be accessing information actually is gaining access.
I don't yet have the answer to the question regarding how to ensure only I can gain access to secure areas, but I do look forward to what I hope will become an obvious solution.
In the meantime, I will keep tracking my personal login credentials ... and I may decide to engage some current -- although less than satisfying -- technology to help me until a superior solution is available.
Mark Mathias is a Westport resident and has worked in information technology for more than 30 years. His "Living With Technology" appears every other Friday. He can be contacted at: email@example.com