I Hate Passwords

When passwords are stolen they’re usually stolen from the password keeper, not the website user.

Can we talk? I hate passwords. I used to dislike them, but we’re well beyond that stage now. It has turned into passionate hatred.

I love my job, but part of the password blame goes to our corporate policy at work. I need a new password every ninety days. It can’t be one I’ve used before. It needs upper case letters. It needs special characters. Oh–I also have to remember it!

Remembering, that’s the tough part.

I’ve been through town/zip code, old street addresses and initials/birthday combos.

My current work password is based on our home phone number 50 years ago. It’s obscure enough even with that hint you’ll never guess it. Even if you had the 1960 Queens, NY phonebook you’d be hard pressed to figure it out.

It took a while to creatively create. In two and a half more months I have to go through it again.

It all seems like a show. When passwords are stolen they’re usually stolen from the password keeper, not the website user. It’s then we find out they don’t have the security demanded of us!

For me the toughest passwords are for insurance and financial sites. They too want hardened passwords, but I don’t use them often enough to remember. One insurance password is changed nearly every time I need the site.

Don’t get me started with Apple. Abandoning their password policy was among the most rewarding parts of leaving the iPhone universe!

Like most people I have a few standard passwords for non-critical, non-monetary applications. More critical sites get their own password, but there are just too many to remember.

There are password apps which can be used, but that just creates a single point of failure where finding one password will get you all of them. Wow!

Can’t someone come up with something better? When I crawl into bed at night and cuddle, Helaine doesn’t have to open her eyes to know it’s me. Can’t passwords work like that… without the cuddling… or pajamas?

14 thoughts on “I Hate Passwords”

  1. OMG, I’m with you. I’ve got 3 pages of passwords for all the sites I use. It’s ridiculous. I feel the same way about those stupid store loyalty cards. It’s like having a deck of 52. One supermarket chain here in AZ finally threw them out. That’s where I shop. I’ve lost the keychain I keep them on at least twice. There has to be a better way!

  2. I spend more time coming up with new passwords to make up for the passwords that I forgot. It’s crazy. I know I don’t want a universal password for everything ’cause that would have to be taped to the fridge.

  3. I know you can get USB devices that allow thumb prints for passwords for Windows 7. Not sure if there are devices for retinal or facial out there yet (maybe for Windows 8)

  4. I have a password organizer book with non-critical passwords. The book is of no use to anyone else since I only put the passwords, not user IDs. I only have 3 important passowrds and they’re in my memory.

  5. Geoff, I suggest you share this with your corporate IT overlords: http://xkcd.com/936 *

    Its a great illustration of your exact point and shows a much better solution: longer easier to remember passwords, vs complex alphanumeric-symbolic-mixed-case short passwords.

    * link goes to a SFW web comic.

  6. I’ve used the childhood phone numbers also! They are a very secure password as the current generation does not have a clue about how phone numbers used to be identified! Love it 🙂 Luckily, we had 2 numbers in our house, a business phone and a family phone. The family phone was installed after my father’s 5 girls grew old enough to use the phone!

  7. A lot of corporate policies will allow you to have a “base” complex password and then keep slightly modifying it each time.

  8. Check out http://www.smartsignin.com

    From their website —SmartSignin was developed to alleviate password fatigue, protect B2B & B2C users from online security threats. Users can securely single sign on to their web/cloud apps from any platform/device and the cookie-less architecture, PKI-free authentication & patented SmartKey algorithm ensure that there is no single point of failure in the system.

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