Passwords... Now there’s a topic that makes me hot under the collar.
There’s nothing more irritating than the inconvenience of trying to remember bizarre words with one capital letter (at least) in the middle and, don’t forget, a number or two – and an asterisk or special character. And, of course, it can’t be too short!
And when that window that says “Your password strength is moderate” or, heaven forbid, “weak” pops up... So frustrating! In the middle of last year, scammers managed to steal money from my bank account after a nefarious sim swop. I got my money back quite quickly, but not before the bank had lectured me on how careless the cellphone service provider had been, and the cellphone service provider had placed the blame squarely on the bank’s shoulders.
And the condescending reproach from both: “But, Wicus, you must have given your password to someone. Think back carefully as to when and how it might have happened.” All said with a straight face, almost pitifully. As if I would be so stupid!
I must confess, and I was sure to tell the forensic investigators, that the password I was using at the time was created in a moment of extreme obtuseness; not the sort of word concoction that one could ever say out loud without fear of being turned away from the Pearly Gates. Why on earth would I run around telling people, or even write it down? Luckily, when you type it in, you only see stars on the screen... My mouth was peppered enough as a child and that was just for using the word “shut-up”.
But I digress. Back to passwords, and my strategy for the new year. I want to devise a system whereby I can effortlessly create passwords and remember them easily. Strong passwords but all ‘above board’. Not one password for everything but one password idea that I can simply adapt for my bank, Showmax, email, Netwerk24, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, my municipal account... So that I never, ever have to scramble for options again, or click on that “Forgotten your password?” link.
With the holidays here, that’s the only thinking I plan to do. The rest can wait until schools reopen. This year, I’m staying at home because a longer mid-year break awaits, and I need to save money. But sitting on the stoep, lying in a hammock, sunbathing on the beach – that’s all free!
The getaways in this issue are a balm for weary souls. What more could one ask for? There’s Buffalo Bay at the coast, Porterville inland and the Bushveld. Something for everyone.
Happy holidays! In this issue, we welcome a new back page columnist. Years ago, when I was still a greenhorn in the world of journalism, I crossed paths with Karin Brynard for the first time. Since then, she’s become a respected award-winning novelist, specialising in crime thrillers that have you turning the pages eagerly and anxiously. In due course, we became Facebook friends and her posts were so compassionate and full of humour that I immediately asked her to take over from Riana Scheepers who, after three years of writing for us, is taking a breather. Thanks for everything Riana and welcome Karin!