Daily Reads-2020: Article-18

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Article Title: The Password-protected Life?

Article Summary


The article briefly describes the opportunities and challenges of the virtual world. The sudden death of a crypto currency entrepreneur has paved the way for a long discussion about the security issues that the virtual world might face. As no one has access to his password 190 million dollars are suspended in a limbo. We live in a password protected world where a password is needed to unlock most of our electronic devices and our online accounts. Given the vast number of passwords, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of them all. Every time we forget a password, we generate a new one and promptly forget this too, so we have to repeat the same procedure all over again. The password is a way to make the ordinary magical. Like a mantra where words take on a power quite beyond their literal meaning, the password converts a random scrap of memory into a potent barrier to access. Therefore, it is required to be something obscure so as not to be cracked easily. Although obscure memories make for better passwords, they are harder to remember. The result is we create different passwords for different territories.

Most of the times, we are protecting information no one is interested in but given the unspecific threat of hacking, we have no choice to surround ourselves with passwords. We then navigate a world made complex by our own thoughts and play hide-n-seek with our own selves. That mankind has a fascination with passwords is made abundantly clear when we look at the novels and movies of any era. Unlike the combination lock, which uses a finite set of numerals and given enough time can be cracked easily the modern password is different with infinite possibilities. But this complexity is seen as a hurdle to oneself by the users instead of a barrier to a potential attack. As a result, people tend to use very easy passwords. As passwords become more numerous and complex, solutions are being found. Password managers and OTPs are examples. Along with passwords, there is now the issue of proliferation of user names. We create a plethora of identities and present ourselves differently at different places. Over a period of time, we find so many different versions of ourselves that we find it difficult to recognize ourselves. Sometimes, we get locked out by our own creation.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Abstraction: concept, idea, thought
Limbo: indeterminate state, dividing line
Maverick: nonconformist, rebel, unconventional person
Irreverence: disrespect
Accord: agreement
Obscure: difficult to understand, vague
Unflappable: unflustered, composed
Eponymous: named after a particular person or group
Proliferation: rapid increase in the number or amount of something

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