The Computer Corner

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By Charles Miller

This week I am in a mood to go off on a tirade about a growing problem, and I am also going to proffer a solution to the problem. The latter is going to be a challenge because the newspaper Editor and proofreaders cannot permit publishing the real name of the solution here in the paper. I will come back to that in due course.
An annoying problem that I see more and more often is web sites that block being able to copy and paste into web forms. Some people who have taken to heart all the warnings to use longer and stronger passwords have also started keeping them in a document so that they can then copy a long password and paste it into a web site when needed. If you do this, please do not name that document “My Passwords.doc.” One client of mine named his “Proctology Results.doc” so that nobody would want to touch it. However you do it, using a password with 24 random characters is better than a simple, easily-guessed password.
Recently when I went to the web site of one of my banks, I noticed some brain-dead web site programmer had blocked being able to paste in a password thus forcing the user to key it in one letter at a time. This is a really stupid idea because it is demonstrable that this adds no security whatsoever. All this does is inconvenience and annoy the user for no reason. The web page you see is only for human beings to use; robots employed by cyber criminals bypass that page and go directly to the web page’s software interface.
There is a simple fix for this annoying problem of web sites that attempt to block users being able to make use of copy-and-paste. Users of Google Chrome and Firefox browsers may download a simple program that completely circumvents web pages that otherwise try to prevent using copy-and-paste and restores the user’s ability to use this time-saving feature. Here is where readers need to pay attention: I cannot print here the name of that program but rather I have to euphemistically call it “Don’t Fornicate With Paste.” To find the real program, what you will need to do is see if you can think of a four-letter synonym for “Fornicate,” then search for “Don’t F*** With Paste” to find this add-in.
Once this add-in program is installed in Chrome or Firefox, it fixes the problem of not being able to copy-and-paste into many secure web sites. Earlier I said it was demonstrable that blocking copy-and-paste was a ridiculously wrong-headed approach to web site security and here is the proof. The “Don’t F With Paste” is software, and it simply bypasses the web page and pastes into the bank’s web page software. That is exactly what cyber criminals would do if they were trying to hack passwords on a web site, and so there is absolutely no security benefit in forcing the user to key in a password rather than allowing pasting that password into the page. It is good to see banks attempting to improve online security, but this effort was a waste.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

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