Hans D. Baumeister

Hans D. Baumeister

Passwords - a modern Tragedy

Since 1985, I’d been using a very simple, one-word password that I’d learned from a fellow student at RIT. I protected everything (and I mean everything!) digital with this password. To this day, it hasn’t been compromised.

After, amongst others, the password-debacle at LinkedIn, mixed with a growing number of services requiring high-complexitiy passwords, I’ve modified this original password with capital letters, symbols and digits. I can still remember it quite easily, but doing a split-second password entry on a keyboard has become a fond memory.

With shift keys to press and digits to hit properly, entering this new password has become quite a chore, especially on my iPhone with its dinky, made-for-babies on-screen keyboard. Why is it, by the way, that Apple hasn’t implemented a landscape-orientation keyboard for this?

In any case, with the number of electronic services that one uses on the increase, so is the number of separate entities requiring some form of secure identification. If the password doesn’t need changing regularly, then - with “remember me on this computer” features - this isn’t such an issue. Often, though, it is just plain annoying.

With different password complexity requirements, one password - even it if is complex enough to be very secure - won’t suffice for every service.

Why is it that we have highly integrated technologies like an iPhone, but no halfway simple mechanism to automate personal identification? The user-facing camera on my iPhone should, for example, suffice in resolution and quality for a biometric check of the face (okay, I admit it: I haven’t a clue as to how this is done, but my imagination tells me it should be doable).

Why hasn’t someone implemented a bluetooth device that I can carry and link to my laptop, smartphone, desktop to identify me securely, perhaps via a smartcard and 5-digit PIN?