Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security

5/28/2018
09:05 AM
Lori Cohen
Lori Cohen
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

World Password Day 2018: Let's Make It the Last One

Every year, the IT and security world marks World Password Day, but why do we? Here's why this year's should be the last one ever.

I had a mind-numbing experience earlier this month. It started right before 7 a.m.

It was May 3, also known as World Password Day. What insane person came up with this "holiday?" It's not really about celebrating passwords, but reminding us to improve them or implement two-factor authentication. Isn't there a better way? Personally, I'd like passwords to be roadkill on the technology highway and my recent experience with them illustrates why.

Here's what happened.

I've been doing branding projects on and off for years under a company called Blue Sky Branding. Along with my website, I have an email account -- one I check infrequently, as it's not an active business. But that morning I thought, I'll log in. At the very least I'd delete the spam.

I navigated over to webmail and, surprise, surprise, it didn't recognize my password.

So, I try again and again, using all my usual passwords.

My password hygiene is pretty bad. Yes, I know the risks, but I can't possibly remember separate passwords for all of my online accounts, numbering in excess of 70, between work, personal, banking, investment, and social media. While I use a password manager to give me a hand, it frequently fails to log me in, as was the case with Blue Sky Branding. It's for that reason that I don't allow the password manager to pick ridiculously complicated login strings.

Instead it remembers all the variations of the passwords I use for my multiple accounts.

But back to the issue at hand. I couldn't login to my account. So I headed over to reset the password.

First, they want to know my mother's maiden name (very secure!). Then the name of my favorite pet. Now, I've had a few pets over the years and I'm never certain of my favorite. Is it my current lab, my first cat? Damned if I can remember.

Happily, I managed to jump this hoop.

Now the hard part began. I tried over and over to reset my password, but each time it failed to accept it. I finally had to look at the rules, listed below:

  • Must be at least 12 characters
  • Must contain at least three of the following: An uppercase character, a lowercase character, a number (0-9), and a special character ([email protected]#$%^&*)
  • Must not be the same as your current password
  • Must not include any portion of your email address
  • Should not contain any personal information

I'm not sure this is humanly possible.

How can I remember a unique password that is 12 characters in length with all those conditions? The only way to remember it is: write it down, and thus the madness continues. Writing all my passwords down in my notes app on my computer is not safe or secure.

But what's the alternative? Our brains are not wired to remember this many characters for all the discrete accounts we have.

Think about telephone numbers. They are only ten digits long, and there was a time when I was a kid that they were only seven (no need to use the local area code). I bet most of you can remember your childhood phone number and even those of your closest friends. Our brain can handle a seven-number string, but it’s much harder with 12, especially if they include numbers, special characters, capital letters, and on and on.

After 15 minutes I tired of this experience. I couldn't reset my password, and I have no idea why. So, recalling that morning I say, kill the password.

A good friend of mine told me she wants her passwords implanted in her brain so that she never has to think about them. But we don't have to go that far. We can simply get rid of them and use our biometrics instead. I do this for my bank account, why can't I do it for every other account?

Instead of passwords killing our productivity let's agree on World Password Day to kill them. Next year, I hope we'll all be celebrating World Biometrics Day.

I'll happily be its poster child.

Oh, did I mention, I can't log into my Dropbox account, or my Lifetime Fitness account, either? Sigh.

Related posts:

Lori Cohen is the CMO of Veridium has launched dozens of brands over the past decade, including Mobiquity, Tesora, Gazelle and LimoLiner..

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Malware Attacks Declined But Became More Evasive in Q2
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15216
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
In goxmldsig (XML Digital Signatures implemented in pure Go) before version 1.1.0, with a carefully crafted XML file, an attacker can completely bypass signature validation and pass off an altered file as a signed one. A patch is available, all users of goxmldsig should upgrade to at least revisio...
CVE-2020-4607
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
IBM Security Secret Server (IBM Security Verify Privilege Vault Remote 1.2 ) could allow a local user to bypass security restrictions due to improper input validation. IBM X-Force ID: 184884.
CVE-2020-24565
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
An out-of-bounds read information disclosure vulnerabilities in Trend Micro Apex One may allow a local attacker to disclose sensitive information to an unprivileged account on vulnerable installations of the product. An attacker must first obtain the ability to execute low-privileged code on the ...
CVE-2020-25770
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
An out-of-bounds read information disclosure vulnerabilities in Trend Micro Apex One may allow a local attacker to disclose sensitive information to an unprivileged account on vulnerable installations of the product. An attacker must first obtain the ability to execute low-privileged code on the ...
CVE-2020-25771
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
An out-of-bounds read information disclosure vulnerabilities in Trend Micro Apex One may allow a local attacker to disclose sensitive information to an unprivileged account on vulnerable installations of the product. An attacker must first obtain the ability to execute low-privileged code on the ...