Passwords are awesome if you're a child founding a secret club in your tree house. They're becoming pretty useless everywhere else, however. Well, a) no offense, but as this New York Times article on popular passwords points out, yours might not be as sneaky as you think, and b) with the rise of phishing and keystroke logging, smart hackers don't even have to guess anymore--they're tricking you into spilling your Internet beans. Ari Schwartz, Senior Internet Policy Advisor at the NIST's Information Technology Laboratory, thinks they have been outdated as an online security standard for several years. "This is actually the third attempt the federal government has made [to introduce a policy] in the last 10 years," he says. "But this time there's more support from the private sector," referring to a public letter dated February 17th, 2011 signed by the advocacy groups Business Software Alliance, the Information Technology Industry Council, and TechAmerica, urging Congress to support NSTIC. So apparently, writing letters to Congress actually works sometimes!