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Passwords are for AES-holes

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'Q. What was the name of your wife's first lover?'

As far as I'm concerned, I demonstrated who I was when I walked past the entrance CCTV and used my RFID pass to get in the building. Why I had to keep doing it in increasingly ludicrous ways throughout the day is beyond me.

As for the need to create a password that isn't the name of your kids or their birthdays or the word 'password', I do get it. But the current new wave of online harrassment to make you invent an utterly forgettable 'strong' password?

Costa coffee

Froth is NOT good for fingerprint security

Oh come on - the biggest security threat to my online accounts isn't the risk of a mischievous Russian hacker spending a week trying to guess my 'strong' password but the depressing likelihood of a civil servant leaving my 'strong' password on a USB stick in the back of a taxi or a sacked call-centre underling in Bangalore selling my 'strong' password to the highest bidder.

Now the staff at many Costa Coffee outlets are having to struggle with stupid new fingerprint readers to access their cash tills. Costa customers, have you seen a barista manage to get one of those pieces of crap to recognise their fingerprint in fewer than half a dozen attempts?

At least it's secure, I suppose: no one can get the bloody cash till open, including the staff.

And how secure is it, really? Sure, the old movie cliché of hacking off someone's hand and using it to trigger fingerprint readers doesn't work any more because they now incorporate heat sensors or pulse detectors. But there are ways to cheat them, including an old favourite involving creating a fake fingertip from gelatin: if approached by the police, you can always eat the evidence.

Minority Report. Source: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

'Balls, I brought the wrong eye'
Source: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment"

No, this saturation of logins we're faced with today isn't really about our security at all. It's about employers bullying their staff into submission by forcing them 20 times a day to request permission to do their jobs. And it's about organisations using endless rounds of 'strong' password reminders as a smokescreen to hide the fact that their own protection of customer records can be snapped like a twig by the dimmest disgruntled outsourced employee.

Security my arse. Read my finger. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He loves all the big companies he has worked for and only tries to sound cross about their mania for multiple logins for the purposes of this column. Mind you, one has just introduced the need for a new login just to use the telephone.

Security for virtualized datacentres

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