"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Strong Password

I was reading an article this morning that I had clipped from yesterday's paper. It's entitled, "Strong password more important than ever." The title alone is a dead giveaway to the topic: the admonition to be careful with the passwords we choose involving our website accounts. The writer, Shan U, of the Los Angeles Times, suggests a number of tips to protect oneself online.
  • Use mnemonics, which really is nothing more than a catchword or clue. An example might be picking a personal sentence and then "paraphrasing" it by using the first letter in each word to create the password. For example, "I live at the corner of Main and 1st Street" would be "ilatcoMa1s." And while this is a great suggestion, I personally think the word "mnemonics" would be password enough.
  • Longer is better, but not always. It's better to use a short group of irregular numbers and characters such as "4%k#9!" than a phrase such as "numberonemommy."
  • He also suggests we change our passwords to banking institutions frequently -- every few months. Fortunately, my bank makes me do this anyway.
  • Write down the passwords on a list without user names and keep it in a safe place. Okay, so I'm at that age where it's hard enough just to retain in my mind where I put something after I've told myself, "Remember, you've placed this here." Now I have to recall where I put my user names AND my passwords? Besides, I figure if someone is going to break into my home, they are not after my user name and passwords to my blog or MyPanera member card account.
And a few "Nevers."
  • Never use simple phrases -- even if you spell them backward and add a number. (Honestly, hackers have WAY to much time on their hands...)
  • Never have the same password for every account. I think this has something to do with sites "storing your credit card information." Which is another whole reason for concern.
  • Never email passwords to yourself. That's a no-brainer.
  • Never use personal information such as your address, birthday, etc. Another no-brainer.
  • Never share your password with family or friends.
The author ended with the uplifting news to remember that, even after following all the "rules," no password is completely immune from being cracked.

I found myself sighing and breathing the prayer, "Lord, please protect my identity." And as quickly as my next breath, I heard, "I have. And your password is spelled C-h-r--i-s-t."

Ah, yes. Christ! Does this mean no one will ever hack into my accounts or steal my credit card number? No. In fact, it has happened before. But the interchange did bring me home to what really matters in the end: my identity and the One who secures it. I don't have to worry about changing this Password every few months, I need not be concerned about hiding it, and I certainly don't have to add anything to it to make it more secure. This Password works for every "account" I have, it contains all my personal data, and I can share it with whomever I please. It's completely immune from being cracked. And as for strength, I won't find a mightier one.

Indeed, a strong Password is more important than ever.

Just an ordinary moment...

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