Friday, 17 July 2015

Password Overload

Although I use t’internet daily for work and personal reasons and have a very smart phone, I am pretty much a techo dinosaur.  I’m so bad, or lazy, that I haven’t quite sussed the music downloading thing.  Maybe it’s because there is no space left on the afore mentioned smart ass phone, because I haven’t figured out how to move them to a fluffy cloud in Internet Land.  It’s driving me crazy, as I’d love to experiment further with Instagram, which, I expect would make me feel like a complete and rounded human being.

Right now though, I am struggling with passwords.  Passwords for flipping everything.  I got a slap-on-the-wrist email from the IT department at work this week. They did a security check on the organisations email passwords and found that ‘some’ members of staff were still using ‘PASSWORD’ as their, well, password, which represented a security risk.  Moi included.  Morto.  Slap (rather than public flogging) accepted. Password changed.
Truth is, I’m struggling to keep up.  I don’t think that I can take ONE more password.  To enter the building at work via the back entrance, I’ve to enter a code.  To enter the office via the café, there is another code.  Assuming that I have remembered these, I have a password to turn on the computer and, as mentioned above) a different one to access email.  I’ve to use another system, with unique password, to approve staff requests for annual leave and a different one to (mis)manage my own.  To approve payments, there is a whole other system, with, of course, a sequence of magic numbers.  It’s a wonder we get anything done at all. 

I’m an approver to authorise weekly wages for a work related venture.   When I see the email coming in, I hide under the desk until my co-approver does the approval.  I can’t be dealing with the three stage approval thing.  It is the same system for my personal bank.  I’ve changed my password so often now that I regularly draw a blank and have to get the password reset.  My kindly on-line bank person recently told me now that I can do all of this through their automated service.  I think that they set the new system purely to cut down the workload of having to deal with me.

In hindsight, it all started to go horribly wrong when security was hiked up across t’internet and 1. You had to use eight digit codes, with at least one capital letter.  2. You couldn’t reuse a password that you had used previously.  Messages flash across the screen warning you not to write the password down.  You tell yourself that this new password is so clever that you couldn’t possibly forget it … at least until you log on again anyway …
In setting up this blog, I inadvertently linked it to my Google account, where I also inadvertently set the security settings to ‘Fort Knox’.  For convenience, sometimes I write blogs on my phone.  In order for me to upload a blog, I enter a password and then have to enter a code sent to my mobile phone.   It seems that my Google account doesn’t like my iPhone and won’t let me upload photos to the blog, hence my sadly-lacking-in-photos blog.  It's not really very 'convenient' at all ! You are lucky to be reading this at all.

And as for bills.  This go-green, save-the-planet, no-paper bill thing is good for me, but every month, I get a stream of emails advising me that my bill is available to view online.  Simple !  If only I could remember the fricking username and of course, password.  Sometimes, I can’t cope with the logging in.  So, sometimes I guess how much the bill is, fire a few euro in, via my eight-digit-three-stage-online-banking-system and hope that the Sheriff’s Office don’t come looking for me.   I don’t know that the big deal is about security around bills anyway.  What’s the worst that will happen ?  Someone has a Bill Fairy Moment, goes online and pays a bill for me ?  I could live with that.
I was terribly excited about getting a new laptop recently.  But the initial set up and inevitable set up codes almost had me in tears.  No, I do not want to enter the name of my first pet as a reminder if I get locked out.  I lamented the passing of the good old days when you just plugged it in and away ya go.  I’ve just about conquered Word, t’internet and I’ll leave it at that.  The other new fangled functions can wait until my seven year olds figure them out and show me.

It’s always the simple things that get you in the end though, isn’t it ?  I stood at a checkout in LidldAldi recently.  The children swinging out of the trolley.  Huge queue behind me.  They all looked like Russian body builders, who would open their beer cans with their teeth.  My new shiny bank card wouldn’t work.  My mouth went dry, wondering how I had the wrong password, despite using the same number for years.  Worried that I would block the card and have to wait a week while it was all sorted out.  Morto, I left the trolley aside and felt mild panic that MAYBE someone had accessed my bank account, despite my three-stage-security system.  Thankfully, it was much simpler than that.  My credit card company had also sent me a similarly shiny new card and I was using it by mistake.  Phew.   
Passwords to download apps, assuming I have enough space freed up on my phone.  Passwords to turn on my two phones, for Facebook, Skype and Twitter.  To access my two personal email accounts.  Remembering the passwords for the three work related Facebook accounts, never mind updating the content.  Did I mention the code for the photocopier ?

I guess this high security thing is here to stay, but if someone offered to surgically insert a chip in my arm to avoid all of this password malarkey, I’d be first to hop on the operating table.  Because I can’t be doing with this.

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