Imagine if a friend casually dropped into conversation that they left their shiny new car unlocked, because it made getting into it easier. Or a company decided to stop locking its offices because it was too much of a faff to make sure they had enough keys for all their employees. Your jaw would hit the floor. But take the same approach to online security and you’re lovably flaky, or perhaps inventing a new lifestyle trend.
In a piece in The Guardian to promote her new book, Sarah Knight explains how she went from feeling “overextended and overburdened by life” to happiness by learning not to care what others think. While that’s a brilliant idea when it comes to dutiful, resentful attendance at social occasions she also added this gem to her list of things not to care about.
“Passwords. I used to feel so much anxiety about personal security, but then I read a number of articles by experts that suggest we’re all one pimply Slavic teenager away from getting hacked anyway, so I thought, maybe I could just use the same password for everything. Would it really matter?”
Yes, Sarah, yes it would. I too have read a number of articles by experts and they all suggest — without indulging in any lazy stereotyping about what hackers look like — that having different passwords, or using a password manager, is actually super important.
This ‘oh but it’s so complicated to remember my passwords’ attitude is particularly prevalent amongst journalists, writers and creative people in general, which is ironic, because if you’re that creative, surely you could create some catchy new passwords?