25 May 2015

Secure or Paranoid or Marketing Ploy?

Recently I have been driven up tree by all the security hoops I have to jump through to do almost anything online. Things that  were just easy and never thought of, like checking email my from my mail app on my main computer can now take a ton of time out of my day as I have to re-enter passwords, reconnect to accounts or verify that the thing I want to do IS the thing I want to do. 

Google mMail might be the worst in terms of over protecting me from reading my mail while still letting all that SPAM into my account. I often have to re-type the passwords into my mail app and get messages far too often stating someone has been trying to use my account that it has been frozen and needs a new password. Now this sounds like one of those SPAM emails but it’s real. The problem is, the person trying to get access to my account is always ME from the computer I always use. 

Another issue is the ridiculously long passwords and serials numbers I have to enter not only to start up some software, but to access tutorials or forums related to them. Serial numbers and registrations do not help the end user really in any way shape or form in the era of safety. They are used to prevent piracy from the company who owns the software. eEven it it worked most of the time, its not like those companies would ever lower their prices because piracy was down. Apple has a system in place that won’t let you open a downloaded program without approving it, which isn’t a bad idea, but it’s an all or nothing sort of affair. I can approve everything or nothing except what I get from the apple App store. So I have to jump through hoops to approve the software I have whenever there are updates. 

Web sites are also going safety crazy. Often they won’t remember your sign-in info even when you tell them too. As someone with dyslexia, having to re-enter long series of numbers every time I check my bank balance for example is impossible and frustrating.

The thing is, I am not even remotely convinced all these security strategies help me stay safe at all. Man of then seem to do the thing I am wanting to project myself from. They seem like transparent attempts to get information from me to use and sell. As an example, almost everything wants me to give my cell phone number for verification, not just a phone number, my cell number so they can send text messages, etc. They all threaten not doing so might mean an end to the service ( gmail and yahoo imply or outright say this). I don’t actually have a cell phone, should I have to buy one just to read emails? Same goes for the sites that require you can get access only with an email from them. So you end up with google, yahoo, etc etc. I really don’t want a million emails and still have a ton despite spending a couple days every year trying to reduce them. It’s all about marketing, not safety in the end. 


To be sure, we need security in place to access the digital world, there are too many ways hackers and crooks can get into our systems, but I am not sure what passes for security now, on the end user level at least, is really protecting us, but could be simply a way to get our information « legally ». 
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