Isn’t this whole online password thing getting totally out-of-hand?
Increasingly, passwords are required to confirm to complex rules which vary greatly between service providers ─ minimum length, mixture of upper/lower, letters/numbers and special characters (some of which can’t easily be reproduced on phones and tablets).
Some providers force you to change passwords at regular intervals and many won’t allow a password that you have used before.
Dear old Microsoft seem to force a password verification whenever they detect ‘unusual activity’ such as making more than a couple of logon attempts or even setting-up an Outlook.com account on a new PC and synchronising large volumes of email.
And if you do need to recover your Microsoft Account password, you first have to ‘run the gauntlet’ of the CAPTCHA routine which is supposed to ensure that a ‘human’ is requesting the change ─ only problem is that it takes a dozen attempts due to the difficulty in distinguishing between Microsoft’s upper and lower-case characters.
The ‘Audio’ version is even worse and I have never managed to make that work ─ you have to recognise a number of words against a high level of background noise.
All in the name of ‘security’ ─ though the requirement for security is not always readily apparent.
So what to people do to remember these numerous and complex passwords?
They write them down, of course ─ which is exactly what you shouldn’t do.