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‘Password fatigue’ haunts Internet masses

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Posted June 25, 2013
People group around laptop computers at a cafe in Beijing on May 29, 2013. Passwords have proliferated so much that it's a daily struggle for users to cope with dozens of them—often across several devices.

People group around laptop computers at a cafe in Beijing on May 29, 2013. Passwords have proliferated so much that it’s a daily struggle for users to cope with dozens of them—often across several devices.

Looking for a safe password? You can give HQbgbiZVu9AWcqoSZ mChwgtMYTrM7HE3ObVWGepMe OsJf4iHMyNXMT1BrySA4d7 a try. Good luck memorizing it.

Sixty-three random alpha-numeric characters—in this case, generated by an online password generator—are as good as it gets when it comes to securing your virtual life.

But as millions of Internet users have learned the hard way, no password is safe when hackers can, and do, pilfer them en masse from banks, email services, retailers or social media websites that fail to fully protect their servers.

And besides, with technology growing by leaps and bounds, why does the username-and-password formula—a relic of computing’s Jurassic era—remain the norm?

“The incredibly short answer is, it’s cheap,” said Per Thorsheim, a Norwegian onlinesecurity expert and organizer of PasswordsCon, the world’s only conference dedicated to passwords, taking place in Las Vegas in July.

“If you want anything else—if you want some kind of two-factor authentication that involves using a software-based token, a hardware-based token or biometric authentication—you need something extra,” he told AFP.

“And that will cost you extra money.”

Back in the beginning, it was all so easy.

The very first computers were not only room-sized mainframes, but also stand-alone devices. They didn’t connect to each other, so passwords were needed only by a handful of operators who likely knew each other anyway.

Read more at: Phys.org

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