Friday, June 6, 2008
While at Harvard, I must have had five or six different passwords for their various systems, not to mention my ATM PIN. They were all fairly short and contained familiar words or codes that had meaning to me. As such, they were all very easy for me to remember, and I never had to write them down. Here at UVA, though, they're far more intense about internet security, and none of my passwords are permitted. All passwords have to be very long and have to contain letters, numbers, and symbols, in no familiar or oft-repeated pattern. Now, this might make my passwords a whole lot more difficult if not impossible to crack, but there's a problem. They thus also become absolutely impossible for me to remember. They're just long, random combinations of unrelated symbols. The only way I can log into anything is by writing all my passwords down and carrying them with me all the time. Which means if my wallet is lost or stolen, whoever has it has access to every last drop of info about me and can easily steal my identity and generally cause mischief. It is thus my carefully considered professional opinion that these so-called 'high security' passwords are in fact anything but, and serve precisely the opposite purpose: since you have to write them down and take them around with you, they are far more likely to be stolen than the short and sweet ones you easily memorize. I predict this whole system will backfire if it hasn't already. Then again, I also predicted a Lakers sweep, so what do I know?