When I was a kid, one of my favorite game shows was “Password.” In the game, partners would face each other. The announcer would quietly intone, “The password is” for the audience’s ears only. Then one of the pair would use single word clues trying to get their partner to guess the password as quickly as possible.
Nowadays, the sight of the word password fills me with dread. It tells me I am going to have to dredge up some relatively meaningless collection of letters, numbers, and symbols in order to access something electronic.
I used to have a fairly small number of uses for a password, and I’m embarrassed to say that I always used the same one, cyber security be damned. I just couldn’t count on remembering such random items. Ironically, I can remember phone numbers with uncanny accuracy. I even know my kids’ current and former high school ID numbers, as well as my drivers license number, and even the account and routing numbers on my checking account.
But passwords have me stymied. First of all, sites started adding requirements for their passwords, such as case sensitivity and the need for both numbers and letters, sometimes even symbols. So my passwords have become much more complicated, and I can’t remember which I used for which login.
I also have a much bigger list of them, but I have a hard time finding a secure place to keep them. Thus when confronted by the need to log in to something, I have to search for my password. I can’t count how many times I have had to click, “Forgot my password,” at a login site in order to have the password retrieved or reset. I always feel like a bad student who wasn’t paying attention in class.
The need for privacy and security in our electronic world is very real and important. With online banking and bill payments, student grades, health records, and other sensitive information, it’s imperative that our accounts remain for our eyes only. And God forbid someone should be able to access my Facebook Timeline!
I just wish there were an easier alternative to the user name/password combination, such as voice recognition, fingerprints, or DNA testing of my hair. Anything but asking me to remember those pesky passwords.