NAIROBI, KENYA—As millions of employees resumed their work routines after a prolonged festive season, IT departments across the country reported a massive surge in password reset requests on Monday. “We’ve been swamped with calls and emails from people who can’t remember their login credentials after spending two weeks away from their computers,” said Patrick Mwangi, a senior IT technician at a local bank. “Some of them have tried every possible combination of their names, birthdays, pets, and favorite soccer teams, but nothing works. Others have simply given up and asked us to create new accounts for them.” Mwangi added that he had to deal with several frustrated and angry customers who accused him of changing their passwords without their consent or knowledge.
According to sources, the password reset crisis has caused significant delays and disruptions in various sectors, such as finance, education, health, and media. “I had an important presentation to deliver this morning, but I couldn’t access my PowerPoint file because I forgot my password,” said Grace Wanjiku, a marketing manager at a leading telecom company. “I tried to reset it online, but the system said it had sent a verification code to my old phone number, which I lost last year. Finally I ended up improvising with some charts and graphs I found on Google Images.” Wanjiku added that she hoped her boss would not notice the watermark that said “Shutterstock” on one of the slides.
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Experts have attributed the password reset phenomenon to a combination of factors, such as poor memory, weak security habits, and lack of motivation. “Many people use the same password for multiple accounts, or write them down on sticky notes that they stick to their monitors or keyboards,” said Dr. James Kamau, a cyber-security consultant. “This makes it easy for them to forget or lose their passwords, especially after a long period of inactivity. Moreover, some people are not very enthusiastic about returning to work after enjoying the holidays, so they subconsciously block out their passwords as a form of resistance.” Kamau advised workers to use strong and unique passwords for each account, and to store them in a secure password manager app.
Meanwhile, some workers have found creative ways to cope with the password reset dilemma. “I decided to use the opportunity to start fresh and create new passwords that reflect my goals and aspirations for the new year,” said Joseph Omondi, an accountant at a non-governmental organization. “For example, my email password is now ‘LoseWeight2024’, my bank password is ‘SaveMoney2024’, and my social media password is ‘FindLove2024’. I think this will help me stay focused and motivated throughout the year.” Omondi added that he had also changed his computer wallpaper to a motivational quote that said “The password to success is hard work”.
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