Monday, December 20, 2010

Why let users choose their passwords?

As the release notes for the Gawker debacle illustrate, users make up sucky passwords.  Maybe the real lesson is that users should not be allowed to produce their own passwords.  Instead, websites should auto-generate passwords for users --- passwords that have real complexity, rather than "password" or "123456".   

Sure, this would force most users to write their passwords down --- or keep them in something like KeePass --- but that pushes the point of failure to the user.  The overall risk is way lower than the risk that all 50 websites for which said user used an identical, identically-lame password will remain indefinitely uncompromised.

Thoughts?

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