Occasionally, I see articles like this.
Hackers don’t, as a rule, need to go to such lengths to crack passwords. That’s because most of us fail to follow good security habits. A recent article on PhysOrg cites a study that found people are the weak link in computer security.
This is silly. People don’t need to “follow good security habits” unless they have “security” somewhere in their title. Security is a means to an end, and not the target. The target is to get the job done (or surf the web, or read your emails).
Saying this is not just silly – it’s also dangerous. When experts say “people are the weakest link in computer security”, they remove all responsibility from the security industry to make security better, and easier, for users. Why work on preventing brute-force attacks on passwords? Instead lets force our users to choose a 10 character password including at least 1 number and 1 letter of each case. Oh, and lets prevent those walking security hazards from saving the password in the browser on their malware infested machines. Yeah, that’ll teach them. The article over at discovery.com suggests I use e$4WruX7 as a password – a most helpful advice if I ever saw one. Here’s a better suggestion for you Jonathan: have the system lock out for 24 hours after 3 failed tries.That will make guessing a simple 6 digit-only PIN take more than 450 years.
Enough with this. Users are not the weakest link any more than drivers are the weakest link in driving accidents. Sure, if we remove users (or drivers) from the equation, that solves all our problems. But since we can’t do that, lets focus on making seat belts, and airbags, and warning systems. Or easier (not harder!) password systems, better protected servers and better user interface.