Passwords Holding the Web Together

I noticed another person with a CIBC 2-factor authentication fob on their key chain last week. It displays a seemingly random number that actually only a special server knows, so if a password is stolen, so too must the fob containing the random number code that changes every minute. Without both the password, and the fob, a thief is unable to log into a stolen account.

Passwords make the Web work, so we can have ‘our’ stuff, and keep unwanted and very unwelcome people from viewing it and changing our own information. So a title like “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore” should be very, very concerning to people and businesses depending upon computers alike.

This Forbes headline caught my eye recently, and I have mixed feelings about it. “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore”. Is it going to work to keep computer information secure? My scepticism is sky-high following the Snowden leaks of NSA and related world spying agencies overstepping their constitutional bounds. Could we really design a technology where it’s secure enough to trust the government to implement it for us? I’d trust it only after an intelligent group of individuals who understand encryption very well, give it a thumbs-up. Someone who has worked with WikiLeaks, and works on an anonymous Web system called Tor is Jacob Appelbaum. If Jacob gave a system the thumbs up, or a thumbs down, I’d take his word for it. Even better, he could explain why a system works, or does not.

Is another security technology on the horizon going to change the Web almost overnight in a very drastic or revolutionary way? I wish I had the answers. Maybe the NSA has the answer already? We can’t trust them, however.

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