Sunday, December 10, 2023

What Could Possibly go Wrong?


For the third night of Hanukah, I thought it might be appropriate to add two factor authentication to my MyHeritage account. After all, it has been a while since the furor erupted over the "credential stuffing" attack at 23andMe, and though I had updated to 2FA at other DNA and genealogy accounts, I had yet to do so for MyHeritage.

Silly me. I thought this would be easy. What could possibly go wrong? Two factor authentication is everywhere now, it seems. I can do this.

I opened up the MyHeritage email inviting my participation while it was still a choice, and clicked through to the instructions on their blog post. I read through them, making mental notes that this was the same drill as the last time I had gone through the process. Then I logged on to my account.

As I was doing so, it occurred to me that, since part of the credential-stuffing problem was that people tend to, uh, repeat use of the same credentials, I might want to first update my own password.

That was my fatal error. Yes, I know I was making a wise choice to upgrade to one of those complicated computer-generated whiz-bang long strings of random letters and numbers, but I can now verify that timing can be everything. And this night, my timing was off.

Successfully changing my password, I patted myself on the virtual back and went on to conduct the business at hand—only now, the system couldn't recognize me. Apparently, it would only talk to me if I signed in using my old password. Never mind that I had given that up several minutes ago. 

Forget nanoseconds. Computer systems do not always do their magic in the blink of an eye.

I waited. Perhaps I needed to let the system catch its breath. Moving on to the next step in the 2FA process—entering my password so the system can make sure it's really me—stalled progress with a sickly yellow color overlaid on my plea to be accepted.

Perhaps the MyHeritage system was taking the night off to celebrate Hanukah. I will try again later...after sunrise.

Meanwhile, what was meant to be a simple process was also the mere prelude to today's post. After all, it's time for my biweekly count. As we all wrap up the year, my mind is not only on the numbers representing research progress, but is racing ahead to figure out what research projects should be attempted in the new year. 

This month has been slow for tree-building, since I decided to spend time researching my own father's life story. As for our family tree, I did add 199 new relatives, mostly the catch-up work of reviewing DNA matches in my mother's Tilson line. That family tree now has 35,928 documented names.

For my in-laws' tree, realizing I hadn't worked on my husband's DNA matches for months now prompted me to devote some equal time to the other side of our family. Adding fifty eight new names to that tree, it now stands at 34,089 individuals.

In two more weeks, I'll gather the numbers for a final count for 2023, and then it will be on to planning for the upcoming year's research adventures. But first, it will be back to MyHeritage again on a new day, to take care of that added security of two factor authentication. This time, I hope I'm recognized.

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