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What if Facebook did not have passwords?

What if Facebook did not have passwords?

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Dave DerosierPasswords are there to protect you, right. But it can be a pain remembering all those different passwords for every single website you log into. So what if Facebook decided to make it easier and not require a password to get into your account? Would that be good?

Absolutely not!

The use of passwords is called Authentication. They allow the user to authenticate or verify that it’s ok to let them have access to whatever is on file. Imagine if anyone who wanted to could just access your Facebook account with your username and no password.

You may say, “Well, everything in there is public information anyway.” That’s true. But full access to your account means new information can be added, and existing information can be changed or deleted.

Suppose you are up for a big promotion at your company and another candidate goes into your Facebook account and posts bad things about your history, false information. When your employer hears about it, you don’t get the promotion. What about that?

Suppose you are happily married and an intruder goes into your Facebook account and posts pictures of someone who looks like you being intimate with someone who is not your spouse. What would you think about that?

Are you starting to see the consequences of not having a password? Even though life may be a little easier not having to remember it? Technology has changed our lives, but there is a price to pay for that changing technology – it needs to be respected, and there need to be controls, such as authentication.

Facebook authentication is called a Discretionary Access Control – meaning you, as the owner of the information, have the discretion as to who knows the password and can gain access. You also have the discretionary ability to change the password whenever you want, and (perhaps) to make it easy or difficult for someone to guess it.

Access GrantedAuthentication is just one type of “access control” intended to prevent unauthorized use of technology. Physical access control starts with good old fashioned door locks and keys; and extends, with technology changes, to computer based methods such as key cards, retina scans, embedded microchips, and many others.

What about the comments and photos and videos that others can post to your timeline on Facebook? You have the ability to add some access controls there too. For example, you may decide who can post on your timeline or who can see what others post on your timeline.

Without a password to get into your Facebook account, anyone can look up your user name, make those changes and you would never know.

So what’s the purpose of telling you all this? The message that I want every reader to remember was already stated above but is well worth repeating:

Technology has changed our lives, but there is a price to pay for that changing technology – it needs to be respected, and there need to be controls.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.

Changing Technology

Changing Technology

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Dave DerosierMore than half a century ago, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel observed that technology was doubling every year. His criterion was the number of transistors that could be placed on an integrated circuit. That criterion may have changed, but the concept of what became known as Moore’s Law has not changed. Technology is constantly and rapidly changing.

So what? What do we do about it? How do we keep up with the changes? Do we need to keep up with the changes?

In the 1960s the US Dept of Defense funded the development of ARPANET, a precursor of today’s Internet. In the 1970s wide area networking became common amongst large companies and mini-computers began creeping into small and medium size business.  In the 1980s, PCs replaced mini-computers.

In the 1990s, I was developing websites using a new language called HTML and accessing the Internet over dial-up lines. Very slow by today’s standards. During this same time, cell phones started to proliferate.

Now in the 21st century, the Internet is ubiquitous, so are websites. Everywhere and everyone (almost) are connected with high speed connections and “apps” (short for applications). Search Engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, and countless others. Today the Internet drives a tremendous amount of our economy, of our lives.

After browsing Amazon for some power tools, you probably find advertisements for those same tools when you go to your home page on Facebook. Did you know your personal browsing habits are recorded? Search engines, Amazon, etc. sell your history to others as another way to boost their profits.

Cellular communications have joined the Internet.

Virtual AssistantVirtual Assistants (like Alexa) can access the internet for you using voice commands and replying back using voice. We are seeing the Internet of Things (IOT) as the next upcoming generation. With IOT, Alexa can turn your A/C down, lock your front door at home while you’re at work, and a host of other tasks. Just remember, the devices on the IOT are connected together; as they become smarter they are able to share data…on their own!

Isn’t technology great?

As we hand over our control to technology, we need to consider the cost of such delegation especially in terms of privacy and security. Can you really trust a virtual assistant to be loyal only to you?

How can a virtual assistant respond so quickly to your voice? Because it is always listening and it is always connected to the Internet. Who else is listening, either in real time or to the recorded conversations?

When you post personal data on a friend’s page on Social Media, who else can see it? You marked it as “private”; therefore the maker of the app would never allow it to be seen by anyone else, right?

Technology can ease some burdens, maybe even make life easier, but the cost is an ever increasing vulnerability to those who have their own agenda in mind, not ours. Some are just greedy and want to make more money with that information. Some can be malicious.

Everything you do online is recorded, be careful what you share.

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info.