The Gartner Group predicts that by 2007, 80 percent of organizations will reach the password breaking point and will need to strengthen user authentication with alternative security methods.  You can read up on how to shore up passwords in this white paper which is free – most of the Gartner Group white papers cost real money. 

Actually the situation is more dire than this.  Not only are passwords in a world of hurt but recently some researchers in China announced they had figured out a way to get collisions in SHA-1, the encryption standard currently used by most of the agencies within the Federal government.  This was big news, so much so that it made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  Be afraid be very afraid. 

As marketers, this leaves us in a world of hurt.  Pretty soon we’ll all be carrying around personal security tokens – a la RSA – to login to various sites and web-based accounts.  But unless login gets unified through a single directory structure, my key chain is going to look pretty much like Carrie Bradshaw’s in an episode in Sex in the City – the one where her girl friends’ ask her if she’s taken up prostitution.  (Don’t judge me by my clothes, do judge me by key chain.)

None of this is pretty.  All of it is troubling to marketers who care about protecting their customer’s privacy as well as maintaining the ability to communicate with customers on line, in a 1:1 manner, with appropriate security. 

Relevant Link

Shadowcrew:  Web Mobs from Baseline Magazine