Nuala McCann: I’m dusting off my chequebook and going retro – it’s safer that way

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being.


WHEN I turn on my new laptop, I feel like I’m clambering onto my horse in a big set of clunky silver armour about to joust with the black knight called t’internet security.

Yes, I am up for the challenge, yes, I have a password manager, but sometimes machine says no.

It tells me I need to go through three different levels of security, it laughs at me for not remembering the name of my first best friend – but was it the real or the imaginary one? – and it blocks me.

It’s like standing at the door of a very fancy private club and having a snooty gentleman in a frock coat look down his nose at you.

Damned if I’ll take it, but you have to.

“What’s your worry?” says my friend. “I keep all of my passwords in a little notebook in the drawer. That way there is no bother.”

Surely Burglar Bill will look there first, I tell her. That’s the 21st century equivalent of your granny keeping her cash stuffed in a cushion.

But I can see the temptation.

In my defence, I keep all my important stuff carefully locked away on my iPad.

I don’t write down my passwords – you never ever should – but as memory serves me not-so-well these days, I rehash my old ones and add a number up to 99.

It works, mostly. But the machine keeps nagging me to change the password.

“This password has appeared on zillions of leaked lists. Are you sure?” it asks.

And the endless appeals for new passwords drive me crazy.

Shouting: “I only have one mother, father, husband, son, date of birth…” has no effect.

So I use my thumb print.

“When I die,” I tell our boy who rolls his eyes on cue. He knows all the details including the willow coffin and the cremation.

When I die, I tell him, cut off my thumb.

He raises an eyebrow. He wasn’t planning on that.

It makes sense, really. If they up security to include iris recognition, he’ll have to pluck out my eye too.

My thumb is the key to opening my iPad and to the Aladdin’s Cave of all my worldly goods, such as they are.

My thumb is “Open Sesame” to the Premium Bonds.

I keep hoping.

My sister is a born optimist.

“Some day, Agent Million will be calling at my door,” she tells me with such certainty that I’m buying the…

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