A #$@^)! but Interesting Experience: Creating Passwords
by Brian Vaszily, Creator of the Intense Experiences Program
Okay, I wouldn’t call this one an “Intense Experience,” the namesake of my how-to-most-enjoyably-become-who-you-really-are program, philosophy and website. But it is an interesting experience (which is the nice, healthy way of saying a “$%^#& annoying experience that is, however, also somewhat interesting.")
I am of course referring to the increasingly difficult art of creating passwords.
Probably like you, I use the Web for an extensive array of stuff. I run my business here on the Internet, shop here, bank here, learn here, create, maintain and ruin relationships here, and sometimes fall asleep here.
Like so many others, I am therefore required to come up with passwords for the increasing number of websites in my life … and probably like you, I am increasingly challenged in doing so.
The problem is not just the increasing volume of sites I use that require passwords, but my increasing concern – paranoia? – fed by all the news of identity theft, phishing and related scams of using passwords that are too easy to hack.
Except for those who really want to loan strangers from strange lands their credit cards and identities to see what it feels like, gone are the days when you could use your phone number backward and think you are being a crafty password creator.
Gone even are the days when you could use your best friend from seventh grade’s phone number backward.
Now, if you follow the advice of expert organizations like Microsoft and Apple, who rely on the advice of the real experts called “hackers,” you need to create passwords that contain both numbers and letters, preferably at least 18 to 468 characters long, that follow absolutely no rhyme or reason to even military code-breakers but – and many actually say stuff like this – “will be easy for you to remember.”
“Easy to remember” means the last letter of the name of every pet I have ever owned plus the last number of every year for the past century that has been a leap year. Or something like that.
“Easy to remember” means, if I’m being responsible, another 68 characters scribbled on a piece of junk mail on my desk and then stored in a very secret location deep underground and far from my home (I am writing that to deter all the hackers who may be reading this; for all the rest, what I mean is deep in my desk drawer.)
“Easy to remember” mostly means I won’t remember it and won’t be able to find the piece of paper I wrote it on, if I was being responsible when I created it. And then I’ll have to click that “Don’t Remember Your Password?” link on their website. They’ll then ask me for my username that -- as I have created dozens of usernames to craftily deter the hackers even more -- I also won’t remember. Or they’ll ask me for my email address, where I’ll then be prompted to again go through the entire process of creating a 112 character password that is “easy to remember” so I can forget that one, too.
Fortunately, I am sure something like iris technology is coming, whereby my computer will scan my eyeball, which apparently is like no other eyeball that ever existed in the world, and feed it to all these websites as my password.
But then I am also sure eyeball hacking, which sounds far more painful than password hacking, won’t be too far behind.
OH AND: If you have had a good experience with any program or system that makes password creation and retention simple, I'd love to hear about it in brief and share it. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and try to include "Hey Brian Vaszily" in the email subject line.