Cyber conundrum

Cyber conundrum

Why on earth cant there be a single username and password for everything!

It is not uncommon to see me scratching my head or plucking my beard right in the morning in office.  No, it is not dandruff in my hair or an itchy scalp. It is because I cannot remember usernames, passwords and pin codes so essential to enter the digital domain.

To get my computer up and running, the key is what is technically called the windows username and password.  There’s also office email, our company’s work system, my personal email and online accounts. I’ve also signed up for some social media websites.

It is a piece of cake if one can remember all of them. But unfortunately, if you have a memory like mine, you could end up squinting at the screen and tearing your hair. I am indeed aware of the security aspects in any online activity. Yet, I’ve often wondered aloud why on earth can’t there be a single username and password for everything. The IT specialists tell me it is a security risk and thus not recommended. To complicate matters, the office email and work systems mandatorily require us to change our passwords every three months.

Initially it was not so bad. I picked the easiest names to remember. But in time, they had to be changed and I soon discovered to my utter dismay that I was done with all my family and friends names. I even depleted names of pets, cities I travelled to, food I liked, poets and writers I admired and street names. More trouble was in the offing when the office system refused to accept passwords that were earlier used. And as if to add fuel to the fire, I was told my passwords are weak and to prevent them being cracked, to combine alphabets with numbers, symbols or punctuation marks.

Good grief, remembering such a combination was quite baffling and to me the best option was to write down all these new and complex passwords on a small piece of paper for quick reference and which I kept securely in my wallet. But as the old song goes, life is not an easy road. As I expanded my activity in the digital world, I encountered more challenges. One dreaded morning, I couldn’t find the precious slip of paper with my passwords. I fretted and fumed but to no avail.  Relying on my memory, I ventured bravely to log in but my attempts were rejected and the screen displayed an automatic message to contact the network administrator to re-set passwords. I went through the whole rigmarole again.

Colleagues were quick to proffer advice that ranged from saving all of them on my mobile phone to memorising them, warning never to write down passwords. That didn’t click with yours truly. With my mind swimming in a sea of IDs and passwords and a memory that is as fickle as can be and no solution in sight, it appears I’ll end up having some more bad hair days.

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