The Absurdity of Security

Hello Interweb,

I, like you, enjoy exploiting the technological advances of our time for personal pleasure.  Youtube fills our minds with amazing acts of awesomeness, unnecessary do-it-yourself tutorials, and even disgustingly epic meals.  The new “Social Media” era has come into fruition and now photos, videos, pokes, tweets, and vlogs fly too and fro across the virtual cosmos.  And, as with any population, there are a fair amount of less than ideal citizens.  Sure trolls can be looked down upon, but they are merely looking for attention.  The real threat, hackers.  Now, I can understand a company’s value in the security of its clients, but I think that to some point the lengths at which they go cross the line between reasonable and straight up insane.

In my opinion, it all started a couple years ago with the implementation of a security measure known as “captcha.”  You’re probably familiar with it.  It’s usually a series of random letters and numbers that have been distorted and manipulated so that hacking tools are unable to process them.  At the beginning this seemed ingenious, even somewhat funny, with many websites using clever witticism when the issue arose (“Just checking to see if you’re human” etc).  Yet, as I have now encountered the infamous “captcha” hundreds of times, the process seems somewhat menial and has become downright annoying.

However, my issues with “captcha” stop there.  The real problem I face at an almost monthly frequency is that of the required password changes that I have found becoming more and more popular.  Most recently, my email account has forced me to change my six digit password into an eight digit one.  Not the most challenging thing in the world, until you have to sign in a month later because your computer forgot your passwords and now you have to resort to resetting the password and starting the process over again.  Is this necessary, making us come up with a two more letters or numbers to tack onto our well remembered passwords?  I realize that the additional two strokes make the password two thousand times harder to crack, but someone singling you out will be able to get into your Facebook, email, twitter account, and any other personal accounts you have set up on the internet, I’m saying… within a week.  I’m know I could give it a good go, not that I ever intend to.  And why, because everyone I know has a password that they’ve grown up with, it may not be obvious like a pets name….. oh wait, it is.   What’s your password to Facebook?  Does it relate to your name, family, or personal hobbies?  It doesn’t take years of C++ knowledge to figure out a password.

And if you are like me, who have random non-related passwords for each online account, congrats to you.  In the same breath, a hacker who does have the years of knowledge can get by a b-grade security without much issue (take the first couple scenes from “the Social Network.)

Stay Thirsty My Friends,
TP

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