Can your passwords save you?

  • Digital
  • February 21, 2013
  • Ben Fahy
Can your passwords save you?
Akeg via Flickr

There's been plenty of news about hacking in recent weeks, from local examples like Telecom and Yahoo's email debacle, to the takeover of Burger King and Jeep's Twitter accounts, to break-ins to Twitter, Apple and Facebook. It's a fairly common occurrence these days, and while we might add in an exclamation mark instead of a 1 to our password and feel a bit more secure about our data, a fairly terrifying Wired article from late last year that looked into the world of online security shows that "no matter how complex, no matter how unique, your passwords can no longer protect you." 

As writer Matt Nonan, who had his digital life wiped out in the space of an hour, says: "Since the dawn of the information age, we’ve bought into the idea that a password, so long as it’s elaborate enough, is an adequate means of protecting all this precious data. But in 2012 that’s a fallacy, a fantasy, an outdated sales pitch. And anyone who still mouths it is a sucker—or someone who takesyoufor one." 

So with regular leaks, a black market for data and 'a daisy chain' of accounts and passwords, what can individuals—and the brands that hold their personal data—do about it? 

"The only way forward is real identity verification: to allow our movements and metrics to be tracked in all sorts of ways and to have those movements and metrics tied to our actual identity. We are not going to retreat from the cloud—to bring our photos and email back onto our hard drives. We live there now. So we need a system that makes use of what the cloud already knows: who we are and who we talk to, where we go and what we do there, what we own and what we look like, what we say and how we sound, and maybe even what we think.

That shift will involve significant investment and inconvenience, and it will likely make privacy advocates deeply wary. It sounds creepy. But the alternative is chaos and theft and yet more pleas from “friends” in London who have just been mugged. Times have changed. We’ve entrusted everything we have to a fundamentally broken system. The first step is to acknowledge that fact. The second is to fix it."

Read the whole thing here. And keep hoping you're not one of the unlucky ones.  

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Hey, Big Spender: Navigating the wild world of marketing technology

Hey, Big Spender: Navigating the wild world of marketing technology

Fun fact: The average CMO spends more on technology than many CIOs. Has the job of the marketer suddenly become complicated? And how do you know you're making the right decisions when it comes to all that tech?

Next page
Results for

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.


Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit