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A Quick History of Passwords and Security Risks

Have you ever heard of Fernando Corbató? Chances are you probably haven't. Corbató is an 87 year old former MIT professor who is credited with inventing the first ever computer password in the days of shared computers in the 1960's.

What's amazing is that little has changed since; passwords continue to be the dominant form of file protection, despite their limited security. Even if you haven't heard of Corbató, like him you will have forgotten your passwords at some time and will know how frustrating and time consuming it is to find or reset them.

It doesn't take long for the number of passwords to start adding up. Most people have quite the encyclopaedic collection of passwords, and there are usually two methods of keeping these. One is to have it written down on paper and the other is to have it stored in a computer program or app - which could mean protecting your password with another password.

We need a password for everything these days whether it be for online banking, shopping, networking, shared drives or even just to arrange a magazine subscription. However, passwords have flaws; no sooner had Corbató invented one that there were people ready to hack them, even if it was just to use other people's passwords in the MIT lab to gain extra "computer time."

Nearly every month in the news, somewhere, are reports of data hacks, leaks and breaches where users' passwords have been divulged once again in ways most of us can't possibly imagine. The bottom line is that we have to change our password again, and every other one that happens to be the same as that one.

Let's face it, we all use the same password for multiple different accounts - even the hackers who use this knowledge to their advantage do. No one can possibly know, or want to know, a hundred different and complex passwords all at once.

So it's not surprising that we often find ourselves locked out of programs and internal systems that without a password cannot be accessed. So imagine if you locked yourself out of your own PC or laptop and couldn't gain access? What would you do?

Well, for starters, you can call Hale IT on 0161 941 2525 to book an appointment.

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