Monday, September 12, 2005

And the Password is...

Passwords. Growing up, you only had to have one for the secret club you and every other kid on the block knew about. It was the “secret password” that got you into the clubhouse, a locked bedroom, or a tent carefully constructed with blankets and clothes pins. We even had an alternate password for when a younger sibling (read: pain in the neck) was around so whoever it was behind the door would know they’d better let us in quick so we could keep them out. It also served to throw the little siblings off the trail and they wouldn’t find out the real password.

Today, I probably have about 8 passwords. Passwords for the ATM, the work computer, the home computer, the junk email accounts, the bill paying accounts, the eBay account (of course!) and various other websites and logins. This subject has recently been brought to mind because we have just been informed at the office that our password must change multiple times a year. Great for security’s sake, but bad for those of us who are totally un-creative at coming up with passwords. And the software is so “smart” that it remembers your last two passwords, so you can’t even switch back and forth – you have to have at least a 3-password rotation for your office login! Ahh!

When you create your password, you’re given lots of suggestions on how to do it, and how not to do it.

Don’t: Make it your birthday, your initials, a family member’s name, or your own name

Do: Make it easy to remember

Don’t: Make it your pet’s name, your phone number, or address, use just letters or just numbers

Do: Make it easy to remember

Don’t: Use the same password for multiple logins, or write your password down

Do: Make it easy to remember

So how in the world are you supposed to come up with a random word and number combination that’s “easy to remember”? And one that makes sense with those stupid password hints they like to send you via email?

What’s even become more complicated than the password itself is the question you must answer in order to get them to send your forgotten password to you. It used to be, “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” But now there are multiple questions to choose from like, “What city were you born in?” or “What is your favorite pet’s name?” I’ve even seen, “What street did you live on as a child?” Ok, I don’t know about you, but the Mother’s maiden name and the city one I can remember – the other stuff just isn’t fair. Some sicko must’ve thought up that stuff. How are you supposed to remember what street you lived on when you were 5? What if you lived on multiple streets as a child? Which one do you choose? And if you make something up, how are you supposed to remember what it was? And favorite pet? For those of you who don’t have or have never had pets, I am deeply sorry. For the rest of us, how do you choose a favorite? Is it your current favorite, or all-time favorite? If you choose one pet over the other does that mean you don’t love the other pet? And what if you forget which “favorite” you said was your favorite in the first place?

I’m ready to throw the whole password thing out the window and move on to thumbprint or retina recognition. I’m not going to forget my thumbs or eyeballs. Pin It


  1. hehe, use your name in "1337 5p34k", (remember that?)


  2. oh i know! when i found out i had to change my long standing work password that i love, i was a little upset and railed on our it dept....but i have mentally listed 3 passwords that i will rotate around..... sheesh

  3. curly9:09 AM

    I am ALL about the hand/finger print + retina scan + voice recognition combo.