HYDERABAD: It’s the age of new technology and 3G and Wifi. Connectivity has never been this easy and access even more so. It is also the age of multiple user accounts, and more importantly, of multiple passwords.
With the average person having at least five user accounts (a couple of email accounts and social networking profiles), but a regular tab on maybe three, keeping track of passwords and account activity is the biggest challenge.
While writing passwords down is an almost unheard of practice and not keeping a written record of them the first sacred rule to security, being able to remember the password to lesser used accounts is a sheer pain.
From Facebook to Gmail, Twitter and Linkedln, the lesser prominent Orkut and Google +, Apple and iTunes, internet connection, Netbanking, credit/debit cards, not to mention work email accounts, system passwords, and gadgets like mobile phones and ipods and what-not, each and every one of them requires a password.
Then how does one manage?
Says Vipin Thomas, a credit officer at HSBC, “At work itself I have about 15 accounts.
We are required to change our passwords every two months and it is mandatory that the password not be repeated.
Keeping track does become challenging, but since we use them everyday, it’s not that bad.
Besides if we do forget, we flag the IT department and they reset our password.
So if you’re extremely forgetful, that’s your solution.” Agreeing, Ashish Akkaraju, an employee at Karvy says, “I access about five of my eight accounts regularly.
Those that I don’t, I end up resetting most everytime I log in.
You can’t write them down and buying a password manager for $20 or $30 isn’t really worth it.
That’s where the security questions are a huge help.” While standard password rules dictate that every account should have a separate password, Vipin and Ashish are just one half of the community.
The majority however, simplify the task by using the same password.
For instance, Khaja Moinuddin, who is in between colleges, has even reset all of his college application passwords to the common one he uses.
“I initially had different passwords for every account I created, But I could never remember them.
So I finally changed them all to a common password.
While that could become a serious problem if even one of my accounts is hacked, so far it hasn’t happened.” People like Vipin who are used to memorising a different password every two months also maintain common passwords for some of their regularly used personal accounts.
An ex-General Electric employee, Sanjay does the same.
“While our work passwords changed regularly as per company policy, our personal account’s passwords are either common or a reshuffled version of the same characters.” Despite the fact that password theft is becoming a huge problem, especially while netbanking and at the workplace, most people access their passwords from either their own systems or from a password-protected system at work rather than from random internet stations.
That in itself does go a long way in ensuring security.
“Earlier internet wasn’t something available at everyone’s home.
But now things are different.
Also, service providers like Gmail allow you to link your accounts together, so that you just have check one to know whats happening in the others,” explains Ravi Korukonda, chief operating officer of Purple Talk, an IT company, adding, “In that way, you just need to remember one or two passwords.
Plus mobile phones now have apps that manage passwords and systems like the Mac link you accounts automatically.
So it's relatively hassle-free.” Either ways, the safest place one can keep their password is in their head.
Whether you’re linking your accounts or using the same or similar passwords, password security will always remain an issue with no foolproof solution.