Visible to the public The Secret Life of Passwords

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The Secret Life of Passwords

"The Secret Life of Passwords", 23 November 2014, The New York Times.

Your password must contain an uppercase letter, a number, an ancient rune, a hieroglyph, and an Elvish character. How secure are our most secure passwords? Ian Urbina, who participated in the 2013 SoS Paper Competition, captivates in a narrative about the other side of passwords. Instead of bothersome access codes painfully extracted from the stubborn recesses of our minds, they are surprisingly intimate and expressive. As Urbina writes, passwords can be "suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry" (Urbina 2014). In this New York Times article, Urbina takes readers back to one of the greatest tragedies in American history - September 11th, 2001. Howard Lutnick, chief executive of the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, had just lost 658 of his co-workers and friends. Lutnick recounts the second blow of realizing his company could fold if the passwords of his fallen coworkers and friends could not be recovered. Read Lutnik's story, and Urbina's consequently inspired journey into passwords to discover if human sentimentality - considered a weakness by security professionals - is actually a saving grace. See

(ID#: 14-3550)


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