Monday, March 30, 2009

Internet Security

Common thinking used to be that spam was going to render the Internet useless, but we seem to be dealing with it rather effectively. It remains annoying but nothing more than that.

What is rendering the Internet useless is Internet security measures, which have just gone berserk. I used to be able to monitor my home mortgage at the Citibank website, but no more. It requires me to change my password on a regular basis, and it has really abstruse requirements for passwords; letters, numbers, symbols, arrangements... It rejected everything I tried. It also has "security questions" including one about the name of my first dog. I've never owned a dog in my life, but apparently I made up some answer in the distant past to satisfy them. I have no idea what I made up, so it's back to monitoring my mortgage by telephone.

I used to be able to log into my bank account and view my business account, personal account, and the joint account which I maintain with my wife. No more. I now can view only one account at a time and must log in with a password and user name three separate times for "security reasons." I have asked that bank statements for two of the accounts be mailed to me, and will use online banking for only one account in the future.

Maybe security measures do need to be this unwieldy, in which case the usefulness of the Internet seems really questionable to me. Maybe we are better off doing business the "old fashioned way."

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