big ideaWhen you’re carried away on a wave of enthusiasm, it’s easy to forget the one person who counts most in the big wide world. The customer. I was reminded of this recently by my bank. Barclays has decided to beef up its online security. Not a bad idea, you might think, with all the phishing and hacking that threatens us daily. A while back, I wrote some copy for an online security survey carried out by a UK university. The background reading was enough to induce a cold sweat. Most passwords are frighteningly easy to crack, based as they are on names, dates and places. Sophisticated hacking software simply cycles through millions of word and letter combinations to deliver the goods in next to no time. So more security is better, right? Well, yes and no. Barclays answer is to send everybody a gizmo called PINsentry.  It looks just like a calculator, but has a slot for your card in the top. Every time you want to log on to your account online, you pull out your gizmo, slide in your card, key in your PIN and it gives you a unique, single-use code. You then enter that on the banking website, together with your other security details. Clever. Or is it? You see, the really great thing about online banking is that you can access it anywhere, anytime. It’s flexible, portable and user-friendly. Or at least, it used to be. Now, I can’t use it when I’m on holiday, at an internet café, on the move using a mobile device, at a friend’s house or anywhere else apart from where my PINsentry is. Which means you have to carry it with you at all times. But nobody’s going to do that, I said to the helpdesk when I phoned them. “I would,” said the chap on the end of the line, in a don’t-argue-with-me tone. And with those two little words, I knew there was no stopping this Big Idea. Barclays have already sent out 500,000 of them. It won’t be long before one lands on a hacker’s desk. And there’s nothing a hacker likes better than a challenge. I can feel that cold sweat coming on again.