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I came into work this morning and was promptly told in no uncertain terms by my computer that my password was expiring in 14 days and asked if I wanted to change it now.  I clicked “No” without so much as a thought, but the impending deadline will swirl around at the back of my head for he next two weeks as I try to come up with yet another password that I can remember.

In this modern world, the sheer number of usernames, passwords, PIN codes, and other such devices that we all have to remember just to go about our daily lives is truly astonishing.  The simple alternative is to use the same thing everywhere whenerver possible in order to make them memorable.  The problem lies in the evolving landscape of security where every single site, ATM, and work application seems to have its own draconian set of requirements for the formation of a password.  These can range from the simple (6 characters, numbers & letters) to the ridiculous (18-200 characters, upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, symbols, quadratic equations, and at least one phrase from the Ugandan poet Uchookie).

My current employment is with a government agency that has access to all kinds of personal data.  As such, security is mandated at an extremely high level and our requirements are such that you start trying to spell words with weird capitalization and strange symbolic and numeric replacements for perfectly serviceable letters. And, of course, I can’t use any of my past thousand or so passwords or any derivation thereof.

Puzzling out a new password has begun to make me wonder what my password says about me.  Does it reflect character traits that could be interpreted as borderline insanity?  Does that ridiculous bit of gibberish I threw together, and which seemed funny at the time, mark me as some sort of deviant?  More importantly, is my ISP, my bank, my work, or my forum host putting my password selections through some sort of rigorous personality battery to pick out he crazy people?

If so, I may well and truly be screwed.  The men in the white coats are probably already on their way with a nice jacket that buttons in the back.

Well, can’t dwell on that, have to find that damn book of Ugandan poetry.

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One Comment

  1. The ritual of changing the password umm almost seems like pressing the button (in OnStar for some) or 4-8-15-16-23-42 for others?
    I think it’s a devious plot by evil forces to take over the world through a complicated series of psychological challenges meant to break down your pysche and cause you to become your password on some level – the ones pulling the strings are playing the game well – be warned my friend 🙂
    —- Signed,
    Paranoia


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