password menace

postitpwdAs internet penetration has been on the rise and is slated to grow more with the power of Loon project of Google and many more similar, we the people will be communicating more : we have more channels and more systems. And as the world has always been, there will be evil forces from whom we try to protect ourselves and our near and dear ones. The evil forces are of course, active 24×7 in this invisible internet; we try to protect our privacy by passwords and various such layers of security. How do we store and retrieve these passwords?

Earlier days were a different world. Whenever, we had something to share in confidence, we met in person and spoke in a way that others didn’t get an idea of what we were upto. The attempts of espionage were a bit easy to ward off. However, in our world today, with the smart devices and the connected world, any place that we visit, whatever we search, the topics we watch, the conversations that we follow and the habits on food, clothing and many more things are all quite open, transparent and visible to many others. We are communicating to a lot of people unconsciously. So, it’s not very difficult to predict what is our next move; it’s also easy to influence our decision to do something in future. This is of course, wonderful. In a way, this is quite akin to what we heard as stories involving the mythological or imaginative characters who could know what the other person is upto and acted in a certain fashion depending upon what they wanted to see as results. Someone who is miles away from me is able to track my actions and influence my actions! In the erstwhile real world, it wasn’t so easy unless one used spies. And of course, people tried various camouflaging methods to ward off the evil spies! Passwords are the tools that we use in our current times to ward off the evil spirits! i wonder, how effective are these tools to keep the evil at bay?

As I think of the passwords that I have been using during the last decade, I can see how complex my life has become. The password policies have become stringent. The systems force me to use complex combinations of numbers, uppercase, lowercase, special characters. They also force me to change the passwords in a periodicity. They do not allow me to reuse passwords. Most people use one password for all systems! And I see some people noting down passwords in a file/note because they cannot recall so many of them and especially because the passwords aren’t pronounceable and memorable. I wonder how safe it is to write the passwords down in a place and expose oneself to the risk of an attack on all systems at the same time!

I also see that some people use apps to store these passwords; some people use the functionality of their hardware to store and retrieve the passwords; some people use randomization apps for this. Think of the safety of these methods! We depend on someone else’s system to protect one’s assets. This is very similar to using the lockers of a bank to store one’s valuables or outsource one’s safety and security risk to a security agency.

I feel, there is a huge market out here to offer security to the passwords of people. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Ebay etc should think of something reliable and robust. This can be a huge revenue stream!

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