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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Social Media Tracking Centre For Ghana Elections 2016 Ready To Commence Operations


Although there is a lot of activity when it comes to monitoring mainstream media, there is currently only an inefficient manual tracking of trends in social media here in Ghana.

Social media provides the insight and up to the minute information that will be imperative in ensuring a peaceful Ghana Elections 2016. It is because of this gap in efficient data monitoring that Penplusbytes' Flagship "Social Media Tracking Centre" (SMTC) is set to roll out ahead of the December 7 polls.

The SMTC is a system to monitor and respond in real-time to reports emanating from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. The technology at the middle of  SMTC is the Aggie social media tracking software, developed at Georgia Tech. Aggie is able to present trends grouped around voting logistics, violence, political parties, etc. Penplusbytes will pass the information on to the National Elections Security Taskforce. Through rapid citizen feedback, gathered through social media, problems that may trigger security incidents will be quickly resolved, contributing to a peaceful election.

The centre is to be manned by a core team of tech savvies made up of students from tertiary institutions like the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and the University of Ghana, Legon as well as staff of Penplusbytes. The team will be monitoring social media for 72 hours non-stop on a rotational basis from 6th to the 8th of December, 2016 which is before, during and after the elections.

Key words that have been categorized into trends and incidents will be tracked in real time on social media platforms and staff will verify these, before producing rapid electoral incident reports to share with diverse electoral stakeholders. Penplusbytes will share its real-time incident reports with the Electoral Commission, National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF), and other election stakeholders for prompt action. A new addition to the software tracking platforms is the SMS short code. All these will be done with embedded representatives in the electoral management and observer control centers.

With funding from the Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie and the National Endowment for Democracy, this project seeks to promote peaceful, transparent and credible elections in Ghana and support effective and efficient information and knowledge exchange through a strategic and structural engagement of citizens and the electoral management bodies (Electoral Commission and National Elections Security Task Force - NESTF).

According to the executive director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, "Technology is playing a key role in Ghana's socio-economic development and its application in the governance sector is no exception. This centre and its activities during the elections is clearly in line with our vision of being the leading institution for promoting good governance using technology."

During the 2012 Ghana elections, new digital technologies were applied by all stakeholders in the elections continuum from the electoral management body, political parties, electoral observers, down to the individual voters.

Given this context, there is no doubt that ICTs is going to be a key factor in the elections and this project will seek to enhance and contribute to the democratic momentum that has already been built over the years.
 







‘Social media can be used for good’


Participants in a day's forum have expressed the belief that social media can be used positively to promote development and national security.

According to them, social media could be a platform to provide security tip-offs for early-warning alerts to combat crime.

The participants were contributing to the topic: "Social media and peace-building; social media and traditional media", at a public forum on free and responsible use of social media in Accra.

The forum

It was organised by the National Media Commission (NMC) and sought to bring together the participants to brainstorm on finding a framework for setting up policies and guidelines for social media to be responsible, while safeguarding freedom of expression in the country.

Leading the discussion, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Mr Sulemana Braimah, said even though social media could be used as a platform to foment trouble, there was the need to look at it from the positive side.

Positive side of social media

"If we look at the positive side of social media, how our national security and officers can rely on social media for tip-offs for early warning alerts, that can be good.

"The solution to hate speech is not shutting down social media; it is about countering whatever the social media put out there," he said.

For his part, a journalist with Citi FM, a local radio station, Mr Bernard Avle, said social media would only be useful if society redefined the rules of what was news, while the traditional media constantly insisted on verifying information from social media before publishing it.

He said social media had "changed the way we work, both for good and bad", explaining that because of the competition of sources, social media had put pressure on traditional media practioners.

Contributing to the topic, a blogger with Blogging Ghana, Ms Kinna Kimani, said social media fed on what the traditional media reported because "we are not in possession of the facts". 

Kenya's example

Presenting a study conducted by Penplusbytes on Kenya's 2013 presidential election, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II, said the electoral body of that country relied a lot on social media to conduct a highly successful election.

"The electoral management body, which includes the Electoral Commissioner, the police and the security services, were active on social media. They invested heavily on social media," he said, and asked whether the same could be said about Ghana's Electoral Commissioner and the security agencies.

He said even though the Kenyan election was successful, social media churned out hateful and peaceful messages.

"So we are not suggesting that during the elections everybody was behaving well, but at the end of the day, peaceful messages won," he said.

Mr Ahiabenu noted that the Kenyans realised that social media could pose a serious threat to the electoral process and, therefore, invested heavily in social media.

Active monitoring of social media

"Again, one of the key findings that came out from our research was that there was active social media monitoring and when people were putting up certain behaviour that was not within the confines of the law, the security agencies were able to apprehend and act on it.

"Back in Ghana, do we have that capacity to ensure that the electoral management body and the security agencies can have alerts and police such?" he queried.

Wrapping up the discussion, the Executive Secretary of the NMC, Mr George Sarpong, said the EC could gain more if it engaged on social media.

He said while there could be certain concerns about the potential of social media to cause mischief, "it represents a greater platform for utility for change and progress than the fears that we have had".

Fundamental freedoms

In a statement, the UNDP Country Director, Mr Dominic Sam, said the freedom to generate and share information, download and share information through electronic networks, communicate within and across national boundaries were fundamental freedoms which should be protected.

"The responsible exercise of these fundamental freedoms must be protected. The use of such mediums as social media to propagate false information, which if left unfettered can generate tension during an election period, is not a protected right," he said.

The Chairman of the NMC, Nana Kwesi Gyan-Appenteng, welcoming the participants, expressed concern that in recent times, "not a single week passes without a number of fake and malicious social media content being circulated".

He described it as a major worry, explaining that the purpose of the forum was to gather information and recommendations from the participants into a communique.






Friday, October 28, 2016

Report Shows How Ghana's Politicians Are Using Social Media Ahead of Elections

The cover page of the Governance Social Media Index.

Penplusbytes has released the second edition of the Governance Social Media Index (GSMI) report, which assesses and ranks the presence of political parties, political party leaders and key election management bodies in Ghana on social media based on their followers and level of engagement on Facebook and Twitter.

Generally, the report shows that political actors in Ghana have increased their use of social media ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The flurry of politically minded social media activity hadn't gone unnoticed, even before Penplusbytes's report. Ghana's Inspector General of Police John Kudalor hinted in May 2016 that Ghanaian authorities might consider shutting down social media platforms during the December 7 elections to "maintain peace".

Following a public debate among major stakeholders after his statement, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama declared on August 14 that "the government has no intention to shut down social media on election day."

Penplusbytes is a non-profit organisation promoting effective governance using technology in Africa. The organisation aims at driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

The Governance Social Media Index tracks the relevance and effective use of social media in governance. The first index report was published in June 2016.

The second edition of the GSMI was compiled on September 30 after the disqualification of 13 presidential candidates from the 2016 general elections by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. These candidates were included in the report because they were part of the first GSMI.

The report shows that President Mahama is ahead of other presidential candidates on Facebook with 1,007,595 likes — 125,171 more than his June figure of 880,620. Nana Akufo-Addo, the leader of the largest opposition party, New Patriotic Party, comes in at 981,057 likes on Facebook, which represents an increase of 265,341.

When it comes to Twitter, the report shows that Akufo Addo has taken better advantage of the platform to communicate and interact with his followers, as evidenced in his over 4,000 tweets as compared with President Mahama's 842 tweets.

In terms of political parties, the New Patriotic Party continues to lead with a whopping 307,963 likes on Facebook. Then comes the Progressive People's Party with 33,193 followers, which beats out the ruling National Democratic Congress, who have 24,743 likes on Facebook.

Early this year, Penblusbytes released its first Social Media Index (SMI) report on Ghana's print, radio and television media houses.

 Download the full Governance Social Media Index here.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Regional training course for African journalists opens in Tanzania on Extractives

A 14-day media training course on governance of oil, gas and mining has opened in Dar res Salaam, capital of Tanzania in the Eastern part of Africa.

Sponsored by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a Non Governmental Organisation, the training is being organized by the Journalist Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) in partnership with Penplusbytes  Ghana and the African Center for Media Excellence in Uganda.

Being attended by 24 selected participants – eight each from Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana, the course is aimed at building the capacity of the reporters to enable them tell the true story in the extractive industry particularly oil, gas and mining and get themselves abreast with trending and contemporary situation in the sector.

Mr George Lugalambi, the Media Capacity Development Officer of the NRGI, said the course also offers opportunity for participants to establish relationships and share ideas and divergent views in the extractive sector.

He said although the extractive industry is broad, the NRGI focused on oil, gas and mining and in collaboration with her partners had offered opportunities for reporters and news editors to know more in the industry.

Mr Nicholas Phythan, a renowned International Journalist and a facilitator at the course, asked the participants to reflect on what they do as reporters and learn more in the industry.

Kwami Ahiabenu II, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, expressed the optimism that mutual relationship would be established among participants and further strengthened after the course for the benefit of the participating countries.

Abednego Akwasi Asante Asiedu, a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist working with Adom FM, said he is optimistic the course would enlighten and empower him to report accurately in the extractive sector.

"I hope the 14-day training course will enhance my capacity in the extractive industry", Mr Ebenezer Agyekum-Boateng, another broadcast Journalist and a producer at TV3, a Ghana-based television station said.

Daniel Amule, a reporter at the Pacis FM, a faith-based radio station in Uganda, commended the organisers for such an opportunity and advised his colleagues to take advantage of the course, explore and learn more.

Other Ghanaian reporters were selected from Viasat One TV, Business and Financial Times Newspaper, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Deutsche Welle and Daily Guide Newspaper.

Source: GNA

Sunday, September 11, 2016

VIDEO : @penplusbytes Amplifying oil and gas issues -Ghana elections 2016 launched in Takoradi


Ghana opposition woos voters with billon-dollar spending promise



By Matthew Mpoke Bigg
SALAGA, Ghana, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The leader of Ghana's main opposition party, Nana Akufo-Addo, climbed from his car, picked up a microphone and made a bold election promise to give every constituency the equivalent of $1 million a year if his party wins power.
The money would be used to alleviate poverty by installing basic services such as electricity, running water and sanitation in a country that has accepted an IMF bailout in part to help manage debt accumulated from past government spending.
Akufo-Addo and his running mate Mahamudu Bawumia did not explain to the crowd how they would finance the plan, which would cost $1.1 billion over four years, given that Ghana has 275 constituencies.
But this did not appear to matter to the hundreds who had waited until after dark for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) rally on Friday in Salaga, a trading town in one of Ghana's poorest regions. They blew vuvuzelas and roared their approval.
"We have many, many good policies," Akufo-Addo said as he campaigned for the Dec. 7 vote. "And I want you to know that I will never, ever stand before you and tell you I can do something that I cannot do."
Promising new initiatives in a time of austerity is a favourite tactic of politicians the world over and, to head off the scepticism such pledges often face, the NPP insists its plans would not break the budget.
Funds for constituencies would come from the existing budget, while the private sector rather than state-run corporations would help support other plans.
Akufo-Addo also promised to build a dam in every village, a factory in every district and offer free secondary school education as he toured the northern region.
Policy debate matters in elections in Ghana, a stable democracy where ethnic alliances do not play a decisive political role. Akufo-Addo is bidding for power for a third time, having lost in 2008 and 2012.
His party, however, won two elections starting in 2000, during which time he served as attorney general and then foreign minister.
It was difficult to assess whether the $1 million promise and the rally as a whole won new converts in Salaga, though if it enthused supporters it will have served an electoral purpose.
One development worker who already supports the party said the pledge would mainly help to focus local government spending.
"This (spending plan) is very good ... What he is trying to do will help local districts to better plan and execute their projects," said Iddi Zakaria, who works for a local NGO.
STRONG PROSPECTS
Since President John Mahama's narrow victory in 2012, Ghana has lost its reputation as one of Africa's hottest investment destinations, as a global commodities slump reduced revenue from exports of gold, oil and cocoa.
Inflation, the deficit and public debt rose. Ghana also faced years of power rationing, which has now largely ended.
The government says it is committed to following the $918-million bailout even in an election year when administrations often spend more cash.
It also says the crisis is over, pointing to 4.9 percent GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016, up from 4.5 percent in the same period last year. At the same time, the deficit has halved since 2014 to around 5 percent of GDP.
Even so, the downturn, which raised unemployment, provides ammunition for Akufo-Addo, whose party if elected would face the same fiscal constraints as the current government.
The NPP is yet to launch its manifesto but said it plans to reallocate 20 percent of current capital expenditure to pay for its policies on poverty alleviation, rather than borrow, and it vows to impose strict fiscal discipline.
"The life of our population is not going to get better unless the economy grows (faster)," Akufo-Addo told Reuters.
Some commentators doubt the opposition pledges. Consultants would be needed to make it work so some of the money would go to them, said Kwami Ahiabenu, an expert in governance and technology.
There is also no guarantee that communities would make the best choices or allocate money within each district coherently.
"If I have a factory, will I have a road, will I have electricity? Will I have a market to sell my products?" Ahiabenu said, adding that the plan could work only if it was integrated.
The last two elections have been close, but there are no reliable independent electoral polls for Ghana this time and both sides say their own polls put them narrowly ahead.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is also yet to launch its manifesto but says government investments in infrastructure have helped citizens..
Koku Anyidoho, deputy NDC general secretary, dismissed Akufo-Addo's plans and told Reuters Ghana's mid-term growth prospects were strong.
"There is so much light at the end of the tunnel. That is the message we are going to give to the people rather than going with those phoney promises," he said. (Editing by Tim Cocks and Alison Williams)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3775620/Ghana-opposition-woos-voters-billon-dollar-spending-promise.html

Be Forthright With Information To Curb Misuse Of Social Media – Analyst

Security Analyst Adib Saani has impressed upon officialdom to be forthright with information to avoid people relying on unofficial sources such as social media for information.

Commenting on calls on security services to put in place measures to curb the misuse of social media, Mr Saani said citizen's reliance on official sources of information is key.

The Security Analyst said the media must also double check information from social media sources before publication, but stifling it will represent an affront to freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, governance and Technology expert, Kwami Ahiabenu says the Ghana Police Service needs to intensify policing of the social media space and expose those caught abusing the medium ahead of the December Elections. Mr Ahiabenu said even though regulating social media on Election Day is possible, it comes with a huge technological and human cost that may not be necessary.

Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) 

Professor Abid Yahya Delivers 10th Anniversary Public Lecture


by Benjamin Larbi, Communication Officer
On July 11, 2016, Professor Abid Yahya, a distinguished scholar in engineering and a researcher of international repute, 
delivered the maiden edition of the 10th Anniversary Public Lecture series at the McCarthy Hill campus. 
The topic for the lecture was “The Importance of Mobile Computing and Cloud Technology in the 21st Century”.
The lecture series forms part of activities earmarked to celebrate the University’s 10th anniversary.
 In attendance at the lecture were Regent staff, students, participants from various industries, and friend
s of the University College.
Dr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, the Executive Chairman of the Kludjeson International Group of Companies 
served as the chairperson for the lecture. In his introductory remarks, Dr Kludjeson expressed delight at the progress
 the University had made over the years, and recounted memories of Regent’s humble beginnings 
when it operated from a rented building in Accra. He remarked that he uses the Regent story often to encourage would-be entrepreneurs not to be afraid of starting small.

Dr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson and Prof. Abid Yahya
Dr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson and Prof. Abid Yahya


“There is nothing in this world that begins in a big way. Things start small”, he stressed. 
“The good Lord has given everyone a brain and a heart, and what we achieve in life depends on what we do with these gifts”, he added.
Dr. Kludjeson expressed optimism about wide application of cloud technology especially in the educational sector.

Mobile Computing and Cloud technology in the 21st Century
In the lecture, Professor Abid Yahya noted that the topic, "The Importance of Mobile Computing 
and Cloud Technology in the 21st Century" is relevant, particularly to the African context. 
He expressed the hope that post graduate students would find research in the field of cloud 
technology interesting and rewarding.  
He drew attention to the fact that cloud computing technology is at the heart of many popular 
social media platforms such as twitter and instagram, and applications like Gmail, Skype, Flickr, 
YouTube and WhatsApp, that are now being commonly used in Africa. 

Participants of the Public Lecture
Participants of the Public Lecture


Prof. Yahya explained that through cloud storage, large documents can be saved and accessed anywhere in the world from an internet-enabled device. This, he stated, includes large files in different formats. An application like Google drive, 
that utilizes the power of cloud technology storage capacity, has for example, 
made it possible to readily upload, save and share important documents with colleagues, friends and business partners. This technology could also be applied to collaborative projects.
Professor Abid Yahya intimated that cloud computing was for more than just storage, explaining that it existed in three service models:  infrastructure as service, platform as service, and software as service.
 “Online banking applications, online photo editing software and social media applications are examples of software as a service,” he said.
He introduced the concept of “Internet of Things (IoT)”, a system in which devices and other items interconnect, collect and share data.
He said that according to experts, there could be more than 50 billion devices connected to IoT by the year 2020.

Prof. E. K. Larbi, President & Founder of Regent University College
Prof. E. K. Larbi, President & Founder of Regent University College


Prof. Yahya further noted that IoT continued to revolutionize sectors such as healthcare, education, 
retail trade, the manufacturing industry, and transportation globally. In the area of healthcare,
 and specifically, for chronic diseases, IoT is readily applicable for a "Smart Hospital" system. 
This makes it possible for patients to be monitored by doctors remotely through wearable health devices that transmit Patient Generated Data. Also, tagged surgical swabs, for example, could be digitally monitored to ensure that none is
 left in patients after surgery, avoiding doubts experienced with manual counting of swabs. 
The IoT is also effective for tracking teaching equipment at schools using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). 
In the retail sector, Prof. Yahya revealed that IoT is being used to enhance the shopping experience for customers. 
When this tool is effectively applied, there could be real-time inventory coupled with automated store replenishment
 of used items in the store. 
Prof. Abid Yahya predicted a significant upsurge in the use of cloud computing and Internet of Things in Africa. 
He maintained that cloud technology and mobile computing devices together present Africa with a unique 
opportunity to leap frog critical infrastructure deficits.
Mr. Kwame Ahiabenu II, the key respondent for the lecture
Mr. Kwame Ahiabenu II, the key respondent for the lecture


Mr. Kwame Ahiabenu II, the President of Penplusbytes who was the respondent to the lecture, noted some of 
the challenges facing the technology sector in Africa. According to him, the lethargy in embracing change and the 
relatively low number of PhD graduates in the fields of computer science, maths and related disciplines, 
were factors causing stagnation in industrial growth in Ghana and consequently in the economy. 
He also drew attention to the issue of security in cloud computing technology. 
He was optimistic however that with the right national policies in place, the information technology sector could experience tremendous growth in Ghana and Africa. 
The 10th Anniversary Public Lectures seeks to stimulate intellectual discussions, with the aim of bringing answers to developmental challenges facing Ghana and Africa.

http://regent.edu.gh/index.php/about-regent/news-publications/816-professor-abid-yahya-delivers-10th-anniversary-public-lecture

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Elections in the age of Social Media






By Tope Adebola
Through a series of straightforward steps, audience members at the Social Media and Elections workshop were encouraged to devise their own social media coverage plans on the spot. Facilitated by Penplusbytes executive director, and new Highway Africa Fellow, Kwami Ahiabenu II, audience participation in this workshop was at peak level right from the start.
In a newsroom, some of the stages ofimplementing a social media coverage plan successfully are defining anaudience; evaluating what tools to use; and, monitoring progress and takingcorrective action.
“Now, I want you to give me examples of the use of social media in elections,”
Ahiabenu said, opening up the floor for further audience input. Ahiabenu spoke in an edifying manner, a teacher accustomed to conducting training sessions and mentoring people. His tone was warmly rhetorical, “one of them is the ability to, what? Connect with the candidate,” Ahiabenu said, exemplifying the value of social media in elections from ordinary people’s perspective.
He then proceeded to divide the audience into three groups, and gave them free rein to brainstorm their own social media election coverage plans.
The outcomes of the group work were fairly uniform, showing how relevant and applicable such phases in social media planning are. The group comprised Pearl Majola Nigel Mugamu (263chat.com), Georgina Asare Fiagbenu (Senior Corporate Communications Manager, MTN Ghana), and Yandisa Sobahle (Rhodes University), and had particularly keen insights to share about WhatsApp and its application to crowd sourcing.
Ahiabenu cautioned. He had the room chuckling at a spicy example of just how wrong these WhatsApp groups can go. Apparently, a rogue WhatsApp group member once posted a pornographic image on an ultra religious WhatsApp group, causing a near collapse of years of friendships.
Mugamu countered that WhatsApp groups can in fact be self-regulating because they determine the topic, a time limit for discussion, and most members adhere to these informal rules.
“That’s interesting, that’s a well behaved group,” Ahiabenu laughed.
The general consensus was that the interactivity and practical nature of the workshop’s content were the highlights of Ahiabenu’s afternoon session.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Strategies for better password management : Key to your online security


KWAMI AHIABENU  11 JULY 2016

Passwords are the key to your online life. They are the most popular mechanism to enable authorised access to various online resources for users.

At the basic level, this type of security is made up of two parameters; a user name and password. The user name is usually static while best security practices demand that passwords are changed periodically. 

The genesis of passwords dates back to ancient times when watchmen would require those wanting to enter an area to supply a password or catchphrase. Only persons with the correct password gained access. 

Fast forwarding to our modern days, user names and passwords (a word or a string of characters) are now required to get access to protected computer operating systems, networks, database, Internet access via Wifi, online resources, mobile phones, automated teller machines (ATMs) and cars, among others. 

Fundamentally, passwords are used to identify and distinguish between users, determine the level of authorisation or the user capabilities on digital resources. For instance, a health care worker can have a password that gives authorisation to access some patient information, a senior medical officer may have access to all patient information in their department while the hospital administrator may have access to all patient records across the entire hospital. 

This way, each user is given access to certain resources based on their level of authorisation.

Best practices in password management

Thousands of passwords are stolen each day, leading to serious problems for users, including loss of funds and inability to undertake work and destruction of sensitive data. 

A common method of stealing passwords, also called password cracking, is guessing or recovering a password from stored sites or from data transmission systems using a trial and error method (brute force) which uses application programmes to decipher encrypted data or dictionary attacks where all words in one or more dictionaries are tested for fit.

In order to protect yourself from these security risks, you must aim at creating a strong password, which is difficult to detect by both humans and computer systems, thereby preventing unauthorised access to your accounts. 

A key recommendation for achieving a strong password includes using 14 characters or longer (at a minimum eight characters - the more characters, the stronger the password); using two or more unrelated words and combining uppercase and lowercase letters. 

Since passwords are typically case sensitive, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.) are also recommended. Using a software, which can generate obscure passwords, is the best way to go.  It is important to avoid using a single password on multiple accounts or multiple devises since this practice will make one more vulnerable. 

To stay safe, use strong passwords which cannot be guessed easily. Never write down your password but try to memorise it. 

Passwords which include your date of birth, wedding date, telephone number, pet's name, child's name, part of your name and words found in dictionary and your organisation name are all easily guessed. 

There are a number of password manager software on the market which enable you to store passwords relatively safely using an encrypted system which can be accessed using one master password.

Password policy 

Most organisations or service providers may provide their users with a password policy that sets a parameter for composition and general management of passwords, including prohibited elements (e.g. date of birth, own name, parents names, telephone number), minimum length, required categories (e.g. upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters) and frequency of changing them. Also the organisation may allocate different passwords to each system user instead of one password shared by multiple users of the system. 

Does changing your password frequently lead to better security?

Whether changing passwords frequently improves security is a moot point among experts. The main advantage of changing your password is that if an unauthorised person gained access to the old one, it will be useless, since there is a new one in place. 

According to Microsoft (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://research.microsoft.              com/en-us/um/people/cormac/papers/2009/SoLongAndNoThanks.pdf) mandatory password changes cost billions in lost of productivity. 

A further argument is that in some cases, frequent password changing requirements lead to risks since some users create variations of the same simple passwords or write them down. In some circumstances changing passwords frequently is a must but for most typical users, this requirement is not necessary. 

Conclusion 

What happens to your password when you die?  Many more people are now leaving passwords in their will so that this important information is passed on when they die so that persons responsible for their estate can have access to their digital resources. 

In recent times, there is a school of thought which claims " passwords are dead" because of the availability of alternatives such as the two-factor authentication, biometric verification, one-time sign on, personal USB keys and virtual 'tokens' etc.  

Although these efforts are chalking up varying degrees of success, passwords remain the most dominant form of authentication. Therefore, it is imperative to guard your password with your life. 

 

The writer is the Executive Director of Penplusbytes.org - you can reach him on WhatsApp: 0241995737