Our heads are now so full of passwords and PIN numbers, it has become a daily test to retain what is ours in this broad and bold digital universe.
A mix of digits and symbols, alphanumeric in some form or another, passwords have become the bane of our existence A code of some sort — one for each device, every application or platform —is required to do just about anything.
Everything is online. With nimble fingers we set out to sign in, login, logon, and unlock (or try) our meagre lives. Bank accounts, personal documents, emails, websites and social media sites all need an electronic signature to be used and viewed.
Password requested or password rejected; our memory is tested each time. With a need to protect personal data, security has become so precise it will quickly lock you out if it’s not correct. Often it is not.
Memory fails even the brightest minds. Did you ever notice how you are forced to reset a password at the most inconvenient time? How on earth will you remember the one you select, when there are dozens of others clogging up our memory banks? All you know is that the device will not accept what you have used before.
I have a mental gallery of passwords required in both my personal and professional lives, and they are constantly changing.
At work, there is a series of security steps before I even have a chance to enjoy my morning coffee. At irregular intervals throughout the weeks and months (especially when you least expect it) you are called upon to change your sign-in signature.
I have tried to set up a system for instant recall, but I fail again and again, in spite of it all.
With variations of one word or phrase, I’ve tried to replace numbers with letters. A zero can easily become an ‘O’, or vice-versa (you think) but often it is not quite so. A lower case L looks much like a one, but to remember which is which leaves me dazed and confused.
Then, when I think I’ve got it, I come up against personal verification questions to confirm my somewhat fickle identity. It’s then you realize the questions were set up seven or nine years ago, when my favourite movie was different than the one it is now.
Even the simplest answers are never obvious. How could I forget my best friend in high school. . . or my mother’s maiden name?
It seems I do, time and again.