Interop
Commentary
1/31/2014
00:00 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

I Hate You, Passwords

Do I really have to memorize T7%rr$4mq@z9Jpp# so I can follow password best practices?

Passwords are a pain. We have too many to keep track of for work and for play, yet best practices demand that we never use the same password for multiple sites, never write them down, and compose them with a byzantine combination of letters, numbers, symbols and capitalization to reduce the chance of compromise.

Is it just me, or does it seem logically impossible to follow all three of these practices? They feel like they were designed by some Kafka-esque bureaucrat who demands compliance and will hear no appeal to reason or sanity.

We users are constantly scolded by security experts about passwords, especially when there’s a news story about hackers breaking into a popular Web site. (Thanks, Yahoo.)

I’m guessing that I’m not alone in saying that I violate these practices all the time. I admit it--I write down my passwords. Why? Because I have at least a dozen user name/password combinations just for work, and my memory is not that good.

Of course, I don’t pin up my password list. That would be stupid. I keep mine in a drawer.

For applications I use every day I don’t need to resort to pen and paper. But some of these applications I only use once every month, or once every quarter, and there’s no way I’m going to remember T7%rr$4mq@z9Jpp# on my own.

I also can’t stand it when I sign up for a service and choose a password, and the site spits a message back at me saying it needs to be stronger. That’s fine, but maybe you could put a little note next to the password box that explains your requirements before I iterate through a half-dozen attempts?

I know there are password managers that will lock up all my passwords, but I still need a password for the password manager. This isn’t a solution—it just takes a bad system and raises the stakes.

We need a better way, and I’d love to get your suggestions. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll have to sign in and create a user name and password. Just remember T7%rr$4mq@z9Jpp# is not available.

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
athorndike
100%
0%
athorndike,
User Rank: Strategist
1/31/2014 | 7:26:37 PM
Re: Passwords
This post really made chuckle, Drew. Totally agree @l_bartlett - biggest pet peeve!
l_bartlett
50%
50%
l_bartlett,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2014 | 6:59:53 PM
Passwords
Great topic for conversation Drew, managing passwords is definitely a pet peve of mine. I bet that a few of our Interop sponsors like Ping Identity and Authen2cate might have some ideas for us. 
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.