Thursday, August 02, 2007

Passwords suck

I'm sure I'm not alone in this: at the start of each month I have to change my network password at work. Part of the "security protocols". (Side note: It's August already! How the hell did that happen? I know it's a cliché, but where the fuck did this year go?)

So when I logged in today I dutifully changed my password. Now every time I have to log back in I type in last month's password by mistake. I HATE the first couple of days of having a new password. Another of the security protocols mandates that the screensaver kicks in really quickly if you're away from your PC. So I have to re-log in about a dozen times a day.

It's a relatively small thing but it's fucking annoying. Having to log in so many times every day PLUS getting it wrong the first time for a day or so each time I have to change password. I know some people suggest you should change all of your passwords regularly but that's fucking crazy.

With all of the passwords I have to keep track of online (internet access itself, banking, blog, YouTube, LiveVideo, Reddit, Digg, Flickr and a bunch of other sites) actually changing them regularly would be impossible. The only surefire way of tracking them would be to write them down which, um, kind of reduces the security.

But then you hear stories of "hackers" all the time. The latest pack of fuckwit losers acting out their inadequacies online go by the name of "anonymous". There are all sorts of stories circulating about them "hacking" people's accounts. In some of the stories they deliberately target people and in others the people were just unlucky.

So how do they even "hack" people's passwords? Are these people using any sort of firewall or anti-virus software? Do they have a stupid password like "password"? Do they have the same password for every site they visit? (not a good idea) Do they leave their PC switched on and connected to the net when they aren't there? (also not a good idea) Were they tricked into signing up for a site whose sole purpose was to trick them into providing password details? (most likely porn)

Hacking is one of those all-purpose, borderline meaningless words the media like to throw around. I'd really like an idea of what method was used to "hack" these people's passwords. If only stupid people are vulnerable, I'd feel better.

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