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2013: Rest In Peace, Passwords
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Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 11:18:15 AM
A welcome change
I welcome this with open arms. Managing passwords has become exhausting and frustrating. I can never remember which variation of which password I've used for which site, and resetting a password every time makes it that much more confusing. It's time for a better solution.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/10/2013 | 12:44:17 PM
Re: A welcome change
I second that, Kristen. But, alas, it seems that passwords will be with us for some time still. Hopefully, TFA and biometrics will hurry things along. I sure hope so. I am running out of room on my screen for all my sticky notes. 
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 1:00:07 PM
Passwords, or Multi-Factor?
Passwords will may disappear to a large extent at some point.  What to replace it with?  I like some sort of multi-factor system, e.g., a password, a generated token (app, text, voice), and a biometric (fingerprint, double-iris scan).  You might be able to fake two, but all three is much harder.  The more sensitive the site, the more factors should be required.

There are a couple of things that are being done now.  The Department of Defense has a Common Access Card (CAC), which requires a 4-8 digit PIN to authenticate.  If the PIN is entered wrong three times, the card is useless until it is unlocked by a CAC representative.

Something similar is available now from the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE, https://fsfe.org/fellowship/card.en.html).  They issue smart cards to each of their members.  Yes, you can get smart cards cheaper elsewhere, but they come with a pre-assigned key, and you can add your own.  Nicely, they are also printed with your name, so if it is lost, it can (maybe) get back to you.  It also has  PIN, which can be used to lock (or erase) the card if entered incorrectly too many times.

Passwords as the only authentication method?  Nope.  Passwords supported by multi-factor authentication?  Yes.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 1:05:12 PM
Re: A welcome change

I too have had issues remembering passwords for websites.  I've found the only way to get really good, unique passwords for each site is to use a password manager like LastPass or KeePass.  LastPass is a commercial product, and tends to have more features and updates, while KeePass is open source.  LastPass keeps your passwords in the cloud, KeePass allows you to keep your own encrypted password file.

One of my pet peeves is websites which require you to set a password without telling you what the restrictions are.  So, I come up with this 48-character password, only to find out the password is limited to 16 characters (yes, that's you, Microsoft Outlook.com.), or that it only allows certain special characters, or something else.  Just tell me up front what you expect.  Is that really so hard?
Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 1:47:35 PM
a password alone will not stand
Looks like a password in tandem with a biometric component or a token will be the new normal. Hopefully soon. It's become clear that a password alone, even a "strong" one, is not enough to secure you. I'm embarrassed to say I still have all my various passwords written on a piece of paper tucked in a book. Time to look into a password manager.
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 1:52:22 PM
Re: A welcome change
I've never checked out password managers -- I'll have to look at those two suggestions. Thanks for the recommendations!
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
12/10/2013 | 4:27:24 PM
Re: A welcome change
I'd expect third-party password management apps to give way to something like KeyChain from Apple.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2013 | 4:43:48 PM
I'm starting a death-of-password list
I will start a list of predictors of the death of the password, with Dave Kearns at the top. Let's see if this list gets as long as the list of those who predicted the death of the mainframe. We better dig in for a long stint of list compilation.

User Rank: Moderator
12/10/2013 | 5:00:59 PM
Re: I'm starting a death-of-password list
Not me! It will Bill Gates almost 10 years ago who predicted the death of the password. I think they'll never day, just hopefully become irrelevant.


By the waym I do suggest everyone look into KeePass...
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/10/2013 | 5:46:03 PM
Re: I'm starting a death-of-password list
I could live with passwords becoming irrelevant. 

As for password managers, it's time for a true confession. I tried one once and then I forgot my password. But Dave, on your recommendation, I'll give KeePass a try. :-)
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