Technology: As logins get more complex, people may be the ones in need of a memory upgrade.
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In the digital age, people are on the verge of “password rage,” frustrated with the abundance of codes they are required to memorize to secure their various networked devices. And the pressure to update the numerical and alphabetical soup keeps growing as threats of intrusions, cyberterrorism and identity theft increase.
At many workplaces, computers prompt users to change their passwords every few months. Password guidelines for the Department of Defense run 30 pages, and accountants Ernst & Young offer a cybersecurity class to clients to demonstrate how easy it is to break into a system.
Passwords are essentially combination locks: The more complex the password, the tougher it is to crack. Yet security specialists describe groan-out-loud encounters with people who guilelessly use part of their Social Security number, their telephone number, a family name, a pet name or a street name as a password. Others use easily cracked sequential numbers such as “1234” or just the word “password.” Others write passwords on paper and stick them to their computers. Worse still, consultants say, are those who rely on a single password for everything.
Security experts, however, sympathize with the exasperation over personal identification numbers and passwords.
“C'mon. If you follow all the rules, it means that you're not allowed to use anything that you can remotely remember,” says Chey Cobb, a former federal intelligence agency network specialist and author of Network Security for Dummies. [Privacy Digest]