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Inconvience vs Security

By kevaburg ·
There are a lot of people that mistype passwords and have to enter them several times to get it right. They might get locked out of their accounts and need an administrator to unlock them. Sure, time will get wasted but that isn't the fault of the password: The problem is the recurring theme of the human factor.

I read another article about whether or not it actually made sense to cover passwords up with asterisks when typing them in. Does it make sense if the user can type it in faster but exposes the password to a casual observer?

Single-sign-in helps address the issue by reducing the amount of passwords users have to remember. Secure certificates electronically address the problem of identification but there is one problem that needs to be addressed and it has always been the case: Education.

Just here on TR alone I have engaged in discussions about just that subject and even now, a couple of years later, we are still discussing it! At what point are we going to learn that educating users is the first step towards any security solution and comes before (almost) any technical solution.

Lets not also forget the problems with people losing laptops or smartcards and not reporting them in the hope the item will miraculously reappear. These are user problems as basic as any problem related to the writing down of any password.

Either that or we install biometrics, voice and retinal recognition, RFID mechanisms and so on.

I don't care what users do in the privacy in their own homes. Most will quite happily answer emails from that African Prince with too much money or open attachments completely ignorant of the consequences.

But at work, our users need to know the risks and they need to be aware of the steps they themselves can take to mitigate them before the problems even surface as an issue! This isn't a job just for the administrators, but for everyone that sits behind a keyboard.

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