Pinned Down By Passwords: Netizens’ Agony.
‘Your password is old and needs to be reset’, for any netizen this message is as hurtful and disruptive as biting the tongue while savouring a mint-laden chewing gum. The immediate reaction is ‘oh no not again’ or somewhat more combative ‘WTF, got it changed other day only’.
In this wired and increasingly wireless world passwords and pin numbers are the digital equivalent of what keys and padlocks were to the brick and mortar world. Losing is just not an option and in case of passwords one cannot even seek others help to carry out a search!
In the ever increasing list of passwords and pin numbers (now even some credit cards need them) it becomes a challenge to remember and update them on a frequent basis.
‘Password strength not enough’ is the prompt we get when we go for some simple and easy to remember words during those updates. Many sites have further raised the bar by asking users to have alphanumeric passwords, which take a heavy toll on the bytes in brain’s grey matter. Names of spouse, kids, girlfriend/boyfriend, exes, movies, movie stars, cricket stars, books, authors… date of birth, marriage anniversary … all these usual suspect permutations and many more get used up for alphanumeric passwords, but alas like sea waves the reset prompts keep coming.
And sadly however strong be the password, it makes you no way immune to a hack attack, because they strike at the servers itself, which the site administrators need to take measures to prevent such attacks.
Remembering passwords is just half the battle. In many sites, as an additional security measure, they have introduced Captcha. A Google search will reveal that Captcha is a type of ‘challenge-response test’ to determine whether the user is human or not. However, they often make me wonder whether the people who programme those Captchas are anyway human! They contort English alphabets and numerals to such an extent that they resemble a cross between Chinese alphabets and Hieroglyphics. If you clear it in the first attempt, then be rest assured that you may be human, but not normal!!
Banks have an uncanny knack of sending prompts for resetting passwords when you are frantically trying to book a flight or train ticket online. The delay caused due to resetting often costs dear – either you fail to get reservation, get relegated to RAC or fares shoot up.
As for remembering passwords the best way would be to rely on good old pen and paper and store them at a safe place. I shudder when I see people checking their phone screens while typing pin numbers at ATMs. Wonder what they would do if their phone conks off, gets lost or stolen.
If you fail to note down passwords and your memory plays hooky, then you get locked out of emails, bank accounts and host of other services and messages such as ‘invalid password’ or ‘your account has been locked’ mock at you. Getting disenfranchised from virtual world can be equally tough as in real one!
Author : Shajil Kumar
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