Need help. What’s the password please? - GulfToday

Need help. What’s the password please?

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Need help. What’s the password please?

Graphic image for illustrative purpose only.

I was recently reminded of an Ellen DeGeneres stand up on passwords and how we now spend our lives trying to keep up with all the accounts and their passwords we have to set up in order to do just everyday things. If you’re looking to buy something from an online shop or looking for a job or even applying for something like health insurance, you need to do it online and that means setting up an online account. That involves coming up with a username and a unique password that no one can crack. According to www.securitymagazine.com an average business person has around 191 passwords that he or she has to keep track of. Moreover, even an average person, like you and me, has around 90 online accounts, according to www.digitalguardian.com, and presumably at least the same number of passwords.

Having said that, I am an average user, and I’m sure that a fair majority of readers are also average users, and I must confess that I don’t have that many online accounts. At least, not as far as I can remember. But those of us whose entire lives are managed online, such as online banking, online shopping, online communication with friends and family, online socialising, managing an online business and anything else I can’t think of, maybe they do have numerous accounts and associated passwords that they have to keep track of.

Although Ellen DeGeneres made a joke about this problem she wasn’t far off the mark. In fact, many people struggle to remember what password was associated with which account. So much so that they’ve sought advice on how to do it.

How do people remember each password for the myriad of accounts they have had to set up? The advice varies and so does each user’s password setting rationale. Will it be a birthday? Or a sequence of numbers related to an old phone number? Or will it be an anniversary coupled with a pet’s name? Or your mother’s maiden name in combination with an anniversary? Or your dad’s nickname combined with someone else’s birthday? Or will it be an old license plate?

You see the difficulty of having to choose something that, on the face of it, would seem relatively straightforward? Moreover, the password choosing process becomes more exasperating and frustrating by certain websites that require a password to be complex such as a combination of a character, a symbol, a letter in small caps, a letter in large caps, a numeral, a symbol, aaah! Even a username can be troublesome to choose, especially if it has already been taken by someone else in which case you end up having to add some numerals after it.

Where a website allows, people often use passwords that they can easily remember. Some even use the same password for more than one account. Apparently neither approach is a good strategy for maintaining one’s online security. Regardless, people do it anyway.

Many people’s greatest fear is that they will forget a password to a critical account, like their email or bank, and then have to request a password reset. If the password choosing process isn’t as complicated as having to choose characters and symbols, etc, then it’s not so bad. But even then they still have to go through the frustrating process of having to choose another password that we can remember. Another fear is accidentally and repeatedly inputting the wrong password because either you’ve semi-forgotten what it is or, by accident, you have the caps lock on. What happens then, your account gets locked and trying to have it unlocked maybe a tiresome process.

Some people even forget their username when accessing an online account. This is understandable and it has happened to me. I have sometimes forgotten if I used my email as a username and have sometimes typed it in the username field only to be met with a red alert and something about being the wrong user.

I personally don’t try to juggle all this in my mind. But at the same time I don’t have that many accounts either. Nevertheless, I do want to make certain that I don’t mix up passwords for certain key critical accounts I maintain and making a quick note somewhere does the trick. Ellen’s joke had a punchline. She pulled out a little bound notebook entitled ‘my passwords’.

I suppose it’s worth trying but, whatever you do, keep that book in a safe place.

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