Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Olá, adeus e até logo (hello, goodbye, see you later)

Every day, people around the world walk into their offices, switch on their computers and enter a password that logs them into their company’s network and allow them to carry out their duties. Every few weeks, they’re reminded to change their password to maintain a certain level of security.

I am one of these people and am dreading the next time I’m asked to change my password. You see, a couple of years ago I decided to see if the system accepted my old password in the new password box. It did and I’ve never changed it since. With passwords required for so many things in life, I was almost at the point of having to write some of them down, completely defeating the purpose of having a secret password in the first place. So I kept using the same password and no one’s ever discovered it, or hacked into my computer. Life was dandy.

That is all about to change as we’ve just had new password security standards introduced at work. Now, instead of having an obscure word followed by a couple of numbers (which I dispensed with on account of the obscurity of my word; seriously, it was a great word), we have to include letters – both upper and lower case – numbers and characters. You also can’t use a combination of them to make a word, like P@ssw*rd.

To add insult to injury, it also has to be in a foreign language. In an English speaking country with no committed educational curriculum to add alternative languages to our population, this is bound to send people diving into dictionaries and phrase books in an effort to come up with something.

A friend of mine changed her password this morning after and had to write it down on account of its complexity. Where’s the security in that? And what if I choose a word in Greek – like the one in the picture – how will I type that on my QWERTY?


Anonymous said...

I'm really curious, what is this really great and obscure word you have been using up until now as a password?

PJ said...

Hee, hee, it's going to take much more than a nicely worded question!

delamare said...

I'm guessing it's QWERTY!