Being Modern: Passwords

Halt! Who goes there? It's a refrain we all know from childhood, the stuff of fairy tales and war films (alongside a bit of "Hände hoch!"). And how did one respond? Friend – or foe. Of course, it wasn't too difficult to crack that system and lie to get behind enemy lines (at least on the playground). As far as systems go, it ranks right up there with using "1234" to unlock your phone or "password" as the password on your PC.

According to a Business Week report earlier this year, it would take a hacker just 10 minutes to solve a six-letter code that uses only lower-case symbols; on the other hand, a nine-symbol key that uses both letters and numbers would take 44,530 years to unpick. And how many crims have the time for that?

There's just one problem with those longer passwords – the ones which, mixing characters and numerals, don't make any sense except, perhaps, to the algebraically inclined – and that's that they're darn tricky to remember. It's little surprise to discover that the proportion of all helpdesk calls that are password-related is 30 per cent.

But even more annoying is that, even when you have remembered the formulae for your computer, your bank account, your work email, your home email, etc etc, you're still not safe in this era of hacking – mobile and otherwise.

Juniper Research reveals that there have been 365 data-loss incidents involving 126,727,474 records already this year. Some have been big news: in April, for instance, gaming geeks around the world squealed as the Sony PlayStation network was raided, compromising more than 70 million passwords. Others have been less publicised – though equally embarrassing for the organisations involved. In June, for example, the global military alliance Nato had to warn the more than 11,000 subscribers to its e-Bookshop service that hackers had stolen its database.

At which point, you might well wonder why you didn't just choose an obvious password you'd remember in the first place and given your noggin a deserved rest.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst (SSRS) - Essex - up to £60,000

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Report Analyst - Essex - up to £60,0...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Network Technician

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run IT service busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Manager

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run IT service busi...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen