Oh, the joys of late night television in the United States!
When there's nothing funny on American TV, you can always rely upon an infomerical selling some crazy product to have you chuckling or simply agog in disbelief that anyone would ever buy such a thing.
Ellen DeGeneres clearly feels the same, and she recently focused some attention on a product that claimed to solve a computer security problem experienced by many internet users - how to remember your passwords.
Take a look at the video below about the "Internet Password Minder":
As one of the customers featured in the infomerical breathlessly explains:
"I don't have to worry anymore about security or identity theft... I now have all my passwords in one place. It's great"
At first I thought perhaps the people behind the "Ellen" show had made the infomercial as a spoof, but now I'm not so sure. After all, I find it hard to believe that *any* infomericals are real.
As Ellen amusingly asks, wouldn't it be cheaper to save money and write all your passwords on a $5 bill?
You could even keep the (patent-pending - don't steal the idea!) $5 bill password minder in your wallet if you liked - much more convenient than the book-sized Internet Password Minder!
Here's my own video explaining how to generate a tough, hard-to-crack password that is still easy to remember.
(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)
If you can't remember your passwords, and have difficulty juggling different passwords for different websites, then just use password management software like KeePass, 1Password or LastPass.
It makes a lot more sense than Ellen's Internet Password Minder or a $5 note.
Well done for Ellen for raising awareness of password security issues with her large TV audience in an amusing way.
PS. Just as I was about to publish this article, I found a comment on Ellen's website from someone who claims to be the woman in the infomercial who no longer worries about identity theft.
Hat-tip: Paul Baccas of SophosLabs, who hasn't yet explained what he was doing watching Ellen.