The insurance company I worked for required three separate sets of passwords for my position. In addition, my screen locked every ninety seconds. The passwords were encrypted to my keyboard so that none of them would work at a different computer. Each password expired in three weeks. This means that I was learning new passwords constantly. Once a password expired, a control box would appear and I could choose between any number of computer generated passwords. After choosing the new password, I would memorize the pattern it made on the keyboard (because we were reprimanded for writing down our passwords) and then go on with my work. I wonder how much brain energy and time was spent simply logging in and memorizing passwords. The energy spent on it must be less than what happens when confronting a computer breach. It almost made one want to say, “Bring on the breaches! They are easier than the constant password changing.”
One day, in 1997, an IT employee sat with us at lunch (they so rarely took lunch that we called him over when we saw him walk in to the break room). I asked if we got cyber attacked every day. He looked at me, shook his head, and said, “Once a day? We get attacked ten to fifteen times an hour.” He went on to tell me that insurance companies hold a lot of information about people. There are all sorts of nefarious types that’d like to get their hands on just a fraction of what the company holds. There are other types who are mad at insurance companies and want to damage us. And yet others from foreign countries who attempt to take information and then hold it for ransom or go public to shame the company.
Flash forward to 2015. I am setting up a password for Ethan’s GameStop rewards plan. In order to set up his account, I needed a password with at least eight characters, two capital letters, one number, and, one character, like @#$%^ or &. I thought this was a bit extreme. I set up his account and have now already forgotten the password. It’s strange to me that a silly rewards program for a used video games store requires such a strong system. I cannot believe they are attacked like an insurance company.
The list of programs and other useful on-line applications that I can no longer use because I have forgotten the overly-complicated password is getting longer and longer. Currently on my list – my bank, health plan, retirement plan, Facebook, LinkedIn, and iHeart Radio. For a few of the above mentioned companies, I actually have forgotten my secret phrases, too. I ask myself, did I say my favorite vacation spot is Maui or Hawaii? Or, did I say Detroit because everyone guesses Hawaii.
Have we password-ed ourselves out of commission? Will we go back to paper simply because we can no longer remember our email login passwords?
The good news is you have a secure account with God. Jesus tells us that our riches are stored in heaven where rust or moth cannot destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. I image Jesus would add to that list foreign governments and nefarious people looking to hijack our info. The password is simple, just put your hands together and pray.