Sunday, August 9, 2015

Password as Prayer

Most of us live in landscapes that require frequent changing of passwords:  one of my schools has us change passwords every 60 days.

We might start by using the names of our pets as part of our password, but that approach quickly drains us of options.  I understand the case to be made for completely random strings of letters and numbers, but I need something easier for my life of multiple computers and locations.

Last week I was talking about passwords with a group of colleagues.  I said that I used passwords that reminded me of ways to behave, words like patience or mindfulness, along with some numbers.  I also use passwords to remind me of other things I want to make manifest in my life, words like discernment or agent or shortened forms of book titles, again with numbers.

One of my colleague friends said that she uses prayers from her tradition:  one phrase for one password cycle, the next phrase for the next password cycle.  She's got the advantage of being part of a religious tradition that's not as ubiquitous in this part of our country, and she speaks multiple languages, so she could use a non-English language or her own translation if she wanted an extra layer of protection.

I immediately thought of my own prayer traditions, of using parts of the Lord's prayer as password.  I thought of the Psalms which I love and use as part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

I used to put prompts in my Outlook calendar to remind myself to pray.  But to pray every time I type in a password:  this approach is one I must try.

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