What is a Password?

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What is a Password?


A password, also known as a PIN, passcode, or secret code, in its simplest form, is just a secret word or phrase used for authentication, to determine whether you are who you say you are. Nowadays, when you hear the word password, you automatically assume they are talking about a website or something related to computers and other electronic devices, but computers haven’t always been around, passwords have.

Where did Passwords originate?

Password have been around since before you or I can remember. In ancient times, as recorded in literature, they were used by sentries to challenge people who wished to enter their territory. If the approaching people knew the “watchword”, then they were allowed to pass. If not, then they were shot in the throat with a couple arrows, left to die, and then brought in for food. Actually, I don’t know about the last part.

After some research I have yet to figure out where passwords originally originated from, but I would assume it’s safe to say they have been around since cavemen time. Keeping cavemen out of the caves they don’t belong in.

How are Passwords used?

Passwords are a big part of our daily life. We have passwords to protect our email, voicemail, phones, ATM cards, lockers, online banking, wireless networks, encrypted data and I can go on forever! Well, maybe not forever, but you get the point. As you can see, we need to keep them secure because if they fall into the wrong hands bad things will happen. Let’s take a look at some possible outcomes that could happen if such a thing happened.

  • Your bank account could be emptied to fund a large purchase of socks for Judith’s sock fetish.
  • Your sensitive email could be read by the stalker next door.
  • You could be visited by the FBI after your wireless network was used to surf child porn.
  • Your gym locker could be emptied, except for your pubic lice shampoo that was left out for everyone to see.
  • Your love for your friend’s grandmother could be exposed after your Facebook messages were read and made public.

As you can see, none of the above situations are delightful to experience. This is why it is extremely important to know how to secure and create strong passwords.

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