Our Days Of Password Purgatory Are Coming to an End

August 9, 2017 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

This blog is for those of you who have struggled to remember the number you put after your middle child’s middle name or who still don’t know what your mother’s maiden name is. This blog is for those of you who get to work early only to be locked out of your computer because you forgot to capitalize the third letter of your password. Finally, it is for those of you who wait too long to change your password and find out that a week’s worth of email haven’t come through.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the government bureaucrat responsible for implementing these protocols now admits he has done more harm than good. In fact, all those time-wasting, frustrating, counterproductive office hours didn’t even improve your cybersecurity.

In 2003, Bill Burr was a manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Unless you’re related to Mr. Burr, you don’t know him, but I would suggest that no government bureaucrat has ever done more to ruin your good mood. As a manager for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he created an eight page primer advising government workers how to guard their computer accounts. His advice spread far and wide as companies and universities scrambled to guard against the emerging cybersecurity threats. For example, he suggested changing your password every 90 days and requiring it to include numbers, upper case letters and special characters in order to be valid.

Does any of this really help? Probably not. Hackers are pretty smart people and it didn’t take them long to figure out that most people update their passwords by simply adding a number every 90 days. In fact, Mr. Burr now says that he regrets much of what he did. Incidentally, the government is in the process of updating Special Publication 800-63, which is the document all these useless requirements came from. 


Those of you who provide mortgage loans or have branches in New Jersey should take a look at Senate Bill 726, which extends protections against discrimination to persons serving in the armed forces. For example, the bill makes it illegal to deny someone a mortgage loan because of “liability for service in the armed forces.”


Wells Fargo is in the news again for the all the wrong reasons. A little more than a week after disclosing that it improperly billed thousands of customers for collateral protection insurance. The bank is under investigation by Federal regulators for failing to refund members who overpaid their  Gap Insurance.

On that note, enjoy your day.

Entry filed under: Mortgage Lending, Technology. Tags: .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Senior Vice President, General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association. In addition, although Henry strives to give his readers useful and accurate information on a broad range of subjects, many of which involve legal disputes, his views are not a substitute for legal advise from retained counsel.

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