This past week it seems that my Twitter feed, Facebook posts, even email has been bombarded with news about the latest computer virus – Heartbleed. Initially some posts contained lists of the most important sites where it was imperative to change your password to avoid security issues, but as the week progressed the news appeared to gain momentum and the last piece of advice I read was to change all your passwords on every site you’ve ever used on the internet. I’m not sure I’d remember every site I’d ever used even if I had a spare day to work on it!
So, I sat down on my day off in the spare twenty minutes I had between walking the dog and mum taxi-ing my daughter to her friend’s and thought I’ll have a go. First, I wrote a list of all the sites I could remember. Within five minutes I’d filled a page and was already starting to feel weary. Then, realising I only had fifteen minutes left, I set about prioritising and changing the key ones I used most days. Hmmm. Easier said than done.
It appears that many sites like to tidy the ‘change password’ option away into little folders or behind flaps in the corner of the screen. By the time you’ve searched for them, you’re already feeling rather stressed. The next problem is that we are told we should use different passwords for each site. As I have a job to remember my pin number in supermarkets – must a fortysomething thing – how the hell am I supposed to remember a million and one different passwords? (Well, okay a minute exaggeration on the figures there.) I read somewhere that if you ‘have’ to write them down then encode them somehow. This is fine as long as you manage to remember the coding system you use!
Anyway, my precious twenty minutes passed – with another five added on because daughter is always late – and not only had I just changed three of my ‘key’ sites, but my face had adopted a scarlet glow, my neck blotchy and I had resorted to yelling at the screen.
By evening time, I had calmed down suitably to try again. It took me almost two hours, and a bit more ranting, to work my way through the list before hubby suggested a film and a glass of wine to calm my frayed nerves. It has to be said that I didn’t enjoy the film much, as new internet sites kept popping into my brain that I hadn’t thought of earlier.
I have to say the experience left me slightly exhausted, more than a little inebriated and with a hankering for working in cash notes stored in the gap between my mattress and bed base. Who decided that we all use cards, bank online, and enter our personal details into all the websites we visit to purchase everything from a book to a food spatula? A part of me wishes I could wind back the years and be like my gran with her brown envelope of weekly wages and her jars of savings dotted around the house. I’m not sure whether I’m more secure now, but can’t help feeling that there is someone sitting somewhere in the corner of the globe having a little chuckle to themselves at my expense.
Okay, rant over. I have to say Heartbleed, the joke this time is most definitely on me.