Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can't Protect Us Anymore
You have a secret that can ruin your life. It’s not a well-kept secret, either. Just a simple string of characters—maybe six of them if you’re careless, 16 if you’re cautious—that can reveal everything about you. Your email. Your bank account. Your address and credit card number. No matter how complex, no matter how unique, your passwords can no longer protect you. Look around. This summer, hackers destroyed my entire digital life in the span of an hour. The age of the password is over. Since that awful day, I’ve devoted myself to researching the world of online security. First thing I do? This summer I learned how to get into, well, everything. The common weakness in these hacks is the password. Passwords are as old as civilization. In 413 BC, at the height of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian general Demosthenes landed in Sicily with 5,000 soldiers to assist in the attack on Syracusae. During the formative years of the web, as we all went online, passwords worked pretty well.
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