Putting an end to the password jungle

manypwdsWith my blog audience all being experts in the IT industry (I presume), I think we are all too familiar with the problems of classic password security mechanisms.

Humans are just not good at remembering long meaningless strings of tokens, especially if they need to be changed every so many months and having to keep track of many of those at the same time.
Some security experts blame humans. They say you should create strong passwords, not use a single password for different purposes, not write them down on paper – or worse – in an unencrypted form somewhere on your computer.

I disagree. I think the fundamental problem is within information technology itself. We invented computers to make life easier for ourselves – well, actually, that’s not true, ironically we invented them primarily to break military encryption codes. But the widespread adoption of computing happened because of the promise of making our lives easier.

I myself use a password manager (KeePass) to make my life a bit easier. There are many password manager tools available, and they solve part of the problem: keeping track of what password was used for what purpose. I now only need to remember one (hopefully, strong enough) password to access the password database and from there I just use the tool to log me in to websites, corporate networks and other services (let’s refer to all of those as “cloud servers”).

The many problems with passwords

The fundamental problem remains – even when using a password manager: passwords are no good for protecting our sensitive data or identity.

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Looking back and forward

I have been enjoying a short holiday in which I decided to totally disconnect from work for a while and re-charge my battery. So while many bloggers and authors in our industry were making predictions for 2013, I was doing some other stuff and blogging was not part of that ;-)

Now that we survived the end of times let’s look back and forward a bit. I don’t want to burn myself making crazy predictions about this year but still like to present some thoughts for the longer term. Stay tuned…

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The Dutch Diginotar Hack

Slightly off-topic here considering my normal focus on business applications (or actually, maybe not, decide for yourself).

False passports

False passports

On the Dutch ICT news sites it is currently a big topic. And the impact for the whole internet is probably still underestimated. What happened? On August 29 2011, I read a news post on webwereld.nl (a Dutch ICT news site) that Iran (actually it seemed to be Iranians but this is still not sure) could tap internet traffic to GMail. This happened because they used an SSL certificate that was signed by the Dutch Certificate Authority Diginotar. Diginotar is a Dutch company providing PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) “certificates” for secure connections, both for regular commercial customers and for the Dutch government. Ouch!
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