Saturday, November 15, 2014

Against hidden passwords and masked fields on web forms

I hate this. This is bad design. I'm typing my Social Security Number into a site and it's masked. Because of the terrible epidemic of people sneaking into other peoples' homes and watching over their shoulders as they type their SSN into websites and then stealing their identities. Ok, sure, plenty of people are doing sensitive data entry in coffee shops and libraries and whatnot, but even there, I think the hassle of not being able to see what you are doing, especially when doing complicated data entry, outweighs the notional security of forcing all users to mask.  There is probably a Firefox extension to fix that.

One thing you can do in Firefox that is nice is, on poorly designed websites that prevent you from pasting in your password, reclaim the power to paste in your password.  See here.

My reward for filling out a long form (complete with yet another classic, silently truncating your entered password) was this:

HTTP Error 500
500 Internal Server Error
This server is incapable of servicing your request. Please try your request again later.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
If the problem persists, please contact a representative of ADP to assist you.

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