Today I had to log back into half a dozen different apps using my login ID and password. Why? Who knows. Maybe it was an overnight app update. Maybe it was a change to a different IP address (I’m traveling). Maybe it was because I did something wrong recently, and ‘Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.‘ I’m mad about passwords. And it’s not the good kind of mad. Passwords, even with the world’s best password management app, have become a pain worse than our quadrennial political season (why don’t we revere fact checkers as much as those they prove wrong?).
I’ve written repeatedly about password utilities and I have a few I love and some I loathe. 1Password is wonderful but has an associated cost that went up thanks to a new subscription model. StrongPassword is fun to use because you can adjust the strength using a slider bar, and get all kinds of characters inserted. Enpass is much like 1Password but it’s free on the Mac. Password manager apps range from free to subscription and everywhere in between, but they all have one thing in common.
It’s still a password repository and if it falls into the wrong hands at the wrong time then your proverbial goose is literally cooked. This weekend I was browsing the Mac interwebs looking for useful, seldom appreciated, but worthy apps to review and came across Nice Generator. Don’t get too excited. It’s yet another password generator that also incorporates phrases, which are handy, and even comes with an Apple Watch app (because we all need to generate passwords while on the go, right?).
Unfortunately, there’s no new trail being blazed here, but we can thank Apple for moving a few solutions down the road. Touch ID on my iPhone and iPad is much beloved because it makes the whole unlock this or unlock that a simple fingertip movement. A few years down the road I can see a sweet combo suite of Touch ID, Iris ID, and Vox ID whereby we look into the Mac, iPhone, or iPad camera, speak a keyword, and use Touch ID fingerprint sensor at the same time to unlock a device.
Sounds cool, right? But that’s a lot of steps.
Two-factor authentication might be more secure than the standard login ID and password, but it’s also extra steps. Look at what Apple did with Apple Pay. Wave your iPhone or Watch over a wireless terminal, hold Touch ID, and you just bought something without the merchant knowing who you are. I like that. I want that on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Everywhere.
Why can’t Facebook or Google use Touch ID to automate the login process? This fingerprint ID technology has been out a few years already. I have Touch ID enabled on a number of apps, but the vast majority that require an occasional password re-entry don’t bother to use it.
My very first computer work was done way back in the day on CP/M systems, long before OS X and Linux, and a simple username and password did the deed to gain access to whatever and everything. Here we are thirty years later and not much has changed except I need multiple login IDs and multiple passwords. That makes me angry. There’s been so little progress.
How is that different than politics and the political season? Here we are, decades later, and not much has changed. Politicians still lie, and people still believe them. I’m beginning to think the problem isn’t so much politicians as it is voters.