Passwords may not be the key to security

on Jan20
by | Comments Off on Passwords may not be the key to security |

I’ve lived in Austin, Texas, since 1970 and Chris Reynolds’ article is one of the best on its culture and music scene I’ve read [“Really Hearing Austin,” Jan. 13]. Not bad for a foreigner.

Thanks for his article. We probably get more visitors than we’d prefer these days, but as “one of the good ones” Reynolds is welcome here any time.

Mike Harris

Austin, Texas

A pass on new passwords

Most of Catharine Hamm’s article on digital security was spot-on, but please stop spreading the long-discredited suggestion about changing passwords [“New Year, New Perspective on Keeping Digitally Safe,” On the Spot, Jan. 13].

Changing a password is like changing the locks on your house: You should do it only if you think somebody evil has a copy of your key. In fact, frequent password changes increase vulnerability rather than protect you.

My most critical accounts have had the same password — and my house the same locks — for many years without incident.

Also, two-factor authentication helps but it’s not a panacea. The bad guys have figured out ways to outsmart it in some cases, in particular when running phishing sites.

Geoff Kuenning

Professor of computer science, Harvey Mudd College


I do not use the two-factor authentication. When we travel internationally, I use a sim card because it is much cheaper and seems to work better. The two-factor authentication almost always involves a number sent to your cellphone. Once you change the sim card, you cannot get the text and you will find yourself locked out of your website.

Jim Gray


ok requested

Re: “Real ID Hits a Bump,” On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, Jan. 6: I had an appointment on Wednesday at my local DMV to renew my expiring California driver’s license. My plan was to obtain a Real ID so I brought multiple forms of identification, including my existing driver’s license, Social Security card, passport and a utility bill.

To my surprise, I was not able to progress through the Real ID application process due to slight differences in how my (rather odd and unique) name is recorded:

Current driver’s license: first name Sharie Lynn, last name Lieberg-Hartman

Passport: first name Sharie Lieberg, last name Hartman

Social Security card: first name Sharie Lynn, last name Lieberg-Hartman

I am not a Mary Smith. The likelihood that anyone else on this planet has the same name and quirky spelling as me is infinitesimal. But in its wisdom, the DMV said that because the passport has my middle name as Lieberg rendered me ineligible for a REAL ID. My only recourse is to change my Social Security card to mirror the passport, then reapply in the future for a REAL ID.

Your tax dollars at work. Sigh.

Keep up the good work on reporting travel issues.

Sharie Lieberg-Hartman



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