Have you ever taken the time to add up all the flippin’ passwords you’ve had to come up with, and try to remember? Can you believe how complicated they’ve become? There was a time all you needed was four numbers. Any four numbers would do.
Most people I know, including me, used the last four digits of a familiar phone number or an address or a birthday. Something easy. Something memorable. And once you had one set of four numbers you could use it for everything, or at least I did.
Even back then the experts warned against it, but I did it anyway.
Over the years it’s become a real pain in the ass. Before long four numbers weren’t enough. Passwords had to be at least six numbers. Then you needed a combination of numbers and letters. Then you needed a combination of numbers and upper and lower case letters. Now you need a combination of numbers and upper and lower case letters and symbols.
Even worse you have to keep changing them. Constantly. If you’re not having to change them because some company or bank you do business with, or work for, got hacked — not that your account necessarily did — you have to keep changing them because that company or bank is afraid they might get hacked. Preventative medicine, as it were. Being proactive, they call it.
It doesn’t work.
It’s all in vain.
Hackers hack anyway.
More and more often with each passing day.
And the more difficult we make it for them, the better they like it.
What really pisses me off is, you don’t have a choice. You go to log in to any of the dozens and dozens of sites and apps and online services we all now use and you’re denied access until you change your bloomin’ password. Sometimes I sit there, like an idiot, staring at my computer screen, for much longer than any sane person should, trying to come up with something. I don’t spend as much time trying to come up with ‘ideas’. I don’t spend as much time writing.
You can’t recycle or re-use them either. I mean what’s the point? If you’ve been notified you have to change a password because of hacking, you’re hardly going to use that password somewhere else, right? Somewhere, there’s a landfill site filled to the brim with discarded passwords. And if taxing your already over-taxed brain with the task of creating and remembering new passwords every five minutes isn’t bad enough, now we have the added burden of making sure they’re ‘impenetrable’, hack-proof. Ha! If only that were true.
But ‘strong’ passwords allude me. Sometimes it takes three or four tries before the invisible ‘being’ who lives inside all our computers passing judgement on our efforts finally gives me the thumbs up, letting me know I’ve passed the test, that I’ve created the sumo wrestler of passwords.
Until I forget what it is. Until I forget where I wrote it down. Until I remember I forgot to write it down. Until I realize, after frantically going through every notebook and list I’ve got that the password I thought was the most recent was, in fact, not — that horror of all horrors, I’d failed to make note of it, to update my list.
Until I find myself back at the drawing board. Right back at square one. And the whole nasty, irritating, time-consuming, annoying, frustrating, vicious circle starts all over again. Another exercise in futility in the making.
My head aches.