There are a growing number of things to hate about living on the interwebs. I’m think of malware, email spam, paying for bandwidth, a seemingly infinite number of news and information choices, and, of course, usernames and passwords.
It’s that last one that had me perplexed and flummoxed for a few years and even now I worry than my choice of a solution might be a Trojan horse in disguise and a simple way to bring more trouble to my door. How?
Single Point Of Failure
That’s it in a nutshell. Nearly every username and password solution I’ve run into is not far from being a single point of failure. The nature of the interwebs makes it difficult to use the same username and password everywhere. Yes, that’s not safe. Once that combo gets out, every website from work to online stores to banks and email could be at risk.
So, what’s my solution? A single password.
Isn’t that part of the problem? Yes and no. I have about 55 different website and app accounts that I need to log into. That means a username and a password for each one. It’s dangerous to use the same combo everywhere so I came up with a different approach.
First, use a password manager app. That gets you rather quickly down to a single password to remember. Second, I have a username system that remains unique to each website or app, but is easy to remember. Something like DaFa19Target62 or DaFa19Walmart62. See? That’s for the username, but the same technique is used for the password but with a different arrangement.
That makes it easy to remember a username and password just in case there is a problem with the first part of the solution.
At this point I have a password manager– I recommend 1Password or Enpass because they work on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and have extensions for most browsers. Now, to open the password manager I use a different combination than the username and password method above.
Still, it is a memorable combination– something like $av#ar2691!@#. That’s the only password I am required to remember because it’s the one that unlocks the password manager on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Even better, both 1Password and Enpass work with Face ID and Touch ID, so even that single password seldom gets used or is required. It’s also the same one I use to open my Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so it is needed with enough frequency to use, but not so frequent as to be annoying.
Finally, my paranoia level creeps up even with this tried and true method. If my single remembered password is hacked or stolen, everything in each device– and all those online accounts– are in jeopardy. That bothers me, but short of some other kind of biological authentication system, I don’t have a fully closed loop solution.
Still, I’m down to one password.
What about you?