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Karen Kapsanis

Editorial License by Karen Kapsanis

Karen Kapsanis is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings, an inexplicably lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers, and a surprisingly speedy sprinter.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Up a Tree ... without a Password

Sometimes, I think living in the Information Age is like trying to get into some kid’s treehouse.

That’s because to get into a treehouse (and into just about everything online or otherwise digital), you generally need to give the right password.

The proliferation of password-protected information is getting complicated.

KeePass
KeePass.info

A password manager can help you keep track of your passwords ... assuming you have the password to get into your computer.

You’re not supposed to use something anyone could easily guess, like your birthday or your home address, and you’re not supposed to use the same password for any two accounts.

At the same time, you need to use something that you can remember, but it usually has to have at least one upper case letter, a symbol, a number, and maybe five or six more unmemorable characters.

Remember that. Right.

Hacked Off

If you’re setting up a new account, the system you’re trying to access will often rate your password for how easily it could be hacked—but not how easy it is to remember. Computers don’t know that kind of thing.

I am writing this fresh off the experience of trying to log into one account by using the password from another. I was kicked out three times before I realized I was using the wrong password.

Invalid authorization. Invalid authorization. Invalid authorization.

Sticky notes with passwords
Mary E. Chollet

Everyone's favorite password reminder technology requires no password.

Yeah, I was hanging from a limb for a while there.

Pass Tense

We need so many passwords these days because we need to get into so many electronic treehouses. There are the phones and the voicemails that go with them; the email accounts, personal and professional; the websites; the password-protected desktop, laptop, tablet. You name it. And remember the right password.

User name. Password.

Email address. Password.

User ID. Password.

Credit card. Password.

Bank account. Password.

Library card. (Library card? Yep.) Password.

Self Protection

Not only that, but I have to periodically change those passwords to protect my accounts from hackers. And even that seems futile, given how much of my information is available to any Internet service provider and….anyone the provider cares to share the information with….

Password Buster
Password Buster

Who you gonna call? Tracking down forgotten passwords has spawned a new industry.

So far, all I know is that I have occasionally protected my accounts from myself.

No wonder I feel like I’m up a tree, trying to get into someone else’s treehouse.




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