The Pain of Passwords

On more than one occasion I have found myself lost with passwords. With so many to remember it is a surprise I can remember anything else.

Passwords have become essential to our life, whether it be in a social, commercial, or employment environment. Yet they are certainly not a new concept and they have been employed as a security protocol for millennia. The Romans used watchwords to keep their military camps and formations secure and passwords have been used with computers since 1961.

We utilize passwords to guard our most precious secrets; social media, email,  bank, company, and medical records to name a few, yet, 91% of us use of the top 1000 passwords in use – this dramatically decreases the security of your account leaving you vulnerable to many forms of cyber attack.

However all is not lost – New Scientist report that a material fix could soon be widely available for this cyber problem. Employees of Facebook already use physical key authentication for accessing their computers, and Google are preparing to distribute “keys” to their users in 2014. They are currently trialling Yubikey, which mimics a keyboard entering a single use password through a small USB plug-in. The one draw back with them is that they can be cloned, albeit with difficulty.

Verayo, a new player in Silicon Valley, have come up with a solution to this. Tiny imperfections in the chips that are intentionally formed during manufacture mean that each chip is unique. Distribution to the public is planned for April next year.

So, for those of us who lack the imagination for a million passwords, it looks like there is a light at the end of tunnel of passwords, but in the mean time I suggest you change your passwords so as not include one of the top 1000 passwords, as listed here.

Lucas Goon

Related Articles:

Physical keys could take away the pain of passwords – tech – 11 December 2013 – New Scientist.

Microsoft ‘Telepathwords’ Site Helps Users Craft Stronger Passwords (cyberparse.co.uk)

http://www.geeknoob.com/1000-most-common-passwords.html

Pwd (infosecurity.us)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password

Yubikey (wiki.archlinux.org)

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