Aug 10 2017   12:22PM GMT

The simpler Burr necessities

Ryan Priest Ryan Priest Profile: Ryan Priest


It has emerged we may have spent more than the past decade creating complicated, unmemorable passwords and changing them every few months for absolutely no reason.

Bill Burr, the author of the publication that went on to become the template for password security, has confessed to regretting his advice that they should include random numbers, capital letters and symbols to make them harder to crack.

That’s quite a legacy for someone so under the radar. It would be forgivable to assume this kind of monumental everyday global annoyance was at least set in motion by a household name like Tim Berners-Lee or… we don’t know… Alan Sugar. Not someone who, when you Google him, hides behind the namesake of a stand-up comedian who once played a bit-part role on Breaking Bad. Why did we listen to him?!

Indeed, the real focus of our collective chagrin is a faceless, retired 72-year-old mid-level manager from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Every forgotten exclamation mark that’s locked us out; every number we’ve added to an already obscure word; every ‘s’ we’ve replaced with a dollar sign: that was essentially this man telling us to waggle our phones in the air on one leg to get a better signal.

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