Think back, no, way, way back to a time when we had it easy. How is that possible you may say, for today everything is at hand, mobile phones, iPads, digital downloads and much much more at the touch of a button so how could we have had it easier than today way back then?
Well, it’s down to one thing. Passwords.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of cataloging my password collection, I call it a collection for it has now exceeded seventy. I have passwords for social media, stores, digital downloads, mail, personal website access, bank accounts, gaming accounts, energy suppliers, both mobile and static phone companies, supermarkets and oodles more for each and every business I have ever bought a product from. In total 76, all different and it seems to grow weekly and on top of that you give me PIN numbers to remember too.
The must be a critical mass of passwords and pin numbers that you can mentally handle, it really is getting insane. Multiply my average by the population and take away around 25% and you have something like 3,656,250,000 passwords knocking around for the UK alone. Figures like that are crazy, think back to what you had to remember twenty years ago. Probably a PIN number and little else, even better you could remember it along with your bank account number and a few phone numbers. Go back thirty years and it gets better, less clutter to remember so you could at least get on with your life.
The mind boggles, a few days ago I wanted to buy a toner cartridge. A simple affair you would think but because it was my first order I had to register, a password was sent to me which I was told to change immediately unless I wanted hackers to drain my bank account, then I had to log in again to access my checkout. Once that bit of tomfoolery was done I followed the process and typed in the credit card details an hit return. A second box popped up asking me for the first, third and sixth letter of my password for my credit card as they used an off site checking service. Of course I couldn’t remember, so went through the usual routine of getting it wrong three times until it asks me details about my shoe size, address, school grades, medical reports and the like to ascertain that I am indeed who I say I am and allow me to reset my password to something more memorable, like ‘password’. Only this is where it gets sneaky, I type in a new password and it proudly announces, ‘Sorry, you have used that password before, please try again’. I enter a new one and I get, ‘Sorry, password contains too many weak characters, try using a combination of letters and numbers’.
I’m sorry, I thought Twilight had too many weak characters not my password. Anyway I decided to play around a little and typed ‘ILLEGALHACKATTEMPT’ as a password and got blacklisted. To cut a long story short I eventually managed to change it and returned back to the site and logged in again to carry on shopping. What a palaver, if this is happening now what am I going to be like when I’m old?
I awoke on my 76th birthday, its the year 2043 and the alarm clock failed to wake me as I hadn’t fathomed out the instructions as they needed to be downloaded from a secure server for which I needed a PIN number. I poured out a bowl of vitamins and sat in front of the Tri-D projector. I wanted to watch Bargain Hunter 2024 and Euros In The Attic but there had been a software update and I needed to log in to Tri-D central to access my personal entertainment centre. I had forgotten my twenty six letter introductory passcode that allowed me five minutes of free viewing before the credit card system embedded underneath my skin started to charge per minute so instead looked out of the window.
Suddenly the view changed from the back garden to an advert for pile cream. New government strategy in 2036 had forced all window companies to install back screen LCD technology in all double glazing to help the advertising industry in paying shareholders. I hated it.
The doorbell rang. Standing outside was a brand spanking new Royal Mail Delivery Android holding in its vice like grip a small parcel. A parcel it wouldn’t let go unless I entered the delivery code, a code that was in my personal account protected by a password that should have arrived in a email the day before. It didn’t arrive, I had try to change my email password the day before but after getting it wrong three times it locked me out and I had to wait for my new password generator to arrive in the post looking suspiciously like the parcel now before me.
A countdown time ticked on the chest of the delivery android, thirty seconds left and then it returns the parcel back to central office, now located in London, a hundred and twenty six miles away. It could only be collected in person on Tuesdays as that’s the only day they now employ real people and you need an emailed code to hand over on the day.
I slammed the door shut as the android bounded away…
See what I’m going to experience one day, if it wasn’t for those pesky passwords I would have gotten away with it you meddling techies!