I Hate You, Passwords - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Interop
Commentary
1/31/2014
12:00 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

I Hate You, Passwords

Do I really have to memorize T7%[email protected]# 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%[email protected]# 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%[email protected]# is not available.

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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
athorndike
100%
0%
athorndike,
User Rank: Moderator
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 State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Commentary
Rethinking Technology Road Maps for the Second Half of 2020
Andrew Froehlich, President & Lead Network Architect, West Gate Networks,  7/2/2020
Commentary
The Best Way to Get Started with Data Analytics
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  7/8/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll