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Sunday, April 17, 2011

AND THE PASSWORD IS....

AND THE PASSWORD IS…
When I was working for a major Wall Street firm I must have used at least 15 applications which required a password for access.  I would have liked to have used only one password, but that was not possible.  You would think that a company would establish one set of rules for choosing a password.  You would think wrong. 
One application required a 3-5 alpha character password; one required a 7-10 alpha character password.  Some applications required at least one uppercase character, and some required at least one numeric.  Most applications required the password be changed every month.
I used at least seven different passwords.  For those applications which were not used every day, violating the password was a given.  Unless I guessed correctly it would be three tries and you are out.  I wonder how many hours of productivity per day are wasted by employees trying to have their passwords reset.
We were always warned that choosing a password was important.  Do not pick something obvious like your birthday.  Don’t use your initials.  Don’t use the names of your wife or kids or pet or your parents or your grandparents.  Do not use any name or number that anyone could tie to you as that would be too easy for a scammer to figure out and get unauthorized access to an application.   Essentially the rule was to never choose a password that you might actually remember.
Since I could not remember the seven to ten different passwords I was required to use, all of which I was required to change monthly, the obvious solution was to record all my passwords and the associated applications on a piece of paper and leave it under my keyboard.  This also was frowned upon.
“Do not leave your list of passwords where they may be easily found!” 
OK, I cannot use passwords which I can easily remember, and when I write them down so I can remember them, I need to put the cheat-sheet in a not obvious place.  In effect, hide the list of passwords which you cannot remember in a place that you will also not remember.
I developed a secret code based on numbers and the alphabet.  Using this code, I recorded the hiding place that I could not remember which held the passwords for all the applications which I could not remember and placed it under the keyboard.  I recorded the key to the code which told me where I hid the passwords that I could not remember and hid it somewhere no one would ever suspect.  I recorder this location on a piece of paper and taped it blank side up to my keyboard.  On the blank side I wrote K2PWLcLiUtP (Key to password location code location is under this paper.)
Weeks later I was fired!  At night, my computer was broken into and an application accessed which enabled the hacker to steal sensitive information which cost the firm several million dollars.  I was fired for breaking the rules of password security.  I forgot that the password for this sensitive application was K2PWLcLiUtP.
Shit!

17 comments:

  1. LOL. Loved "never use a password that you might actually remember'. Thanks so much for visiting the Fibro and drawing my attention to your very funny post.

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  2. Look at me, first two comments on this post, two months apart. I am a keen visitor. You know my feelings about passwords. I can't remember them. I'd be the one who brought down the company with my password as well.

    Visiting from the REwind.

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  3. Passwords also have me stumped. oOMG seriously !
    Ps there is a new app called password keeper , but it still requires a password ! It better be a good one.
    Weekend rewind ...http://mylittledrummerboys.blogspot.com/2007/09/sleep-sharing-saturday.html

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  4. Passwords drive me nuts. I'm lucky in that most systems I use at work take my network password, which is difficult to forget because I need to enter it eleventy-trillion times a day. What I don't like is that they make us change it every 12 weeks. What I do like is that I've discovered a loophole that means I don't have to actually change it :-)

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  5. You sum up the password frustration comically and beautifully. I am hoping this is fiction. It's funny though! Thank you for sharing.

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  6. enjoyed this very much and am off to see 'My wife is turning me gay' now.

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  7. Coming to you from Weekend Rewind.

    Just about everything these days requires a password. I can't remember them. Like you, I have to record them discreetly in a secret location. Very funny post.

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  8. My husband is always at me about my password (which I use for almost everything and have used for more than a decade). It always rates as 'strong' on password forms but the fact that it's the same one drives him crazy.

    I work from home, I have no sensitive material and the bank details one is different. I'd never remember then if they were changed.

    (Fortunately the password is relatively obscure.Something random we choose a decade ago, and managed to remember and stick with.So unlikely to be guessed, IYKWIM).

    Visiting from the rewind.

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  9. Hilarious (not true right?). I hate the whole password thing. I am dreadful at coming up with new combinations. I am a hackers dream :-) Thanks for Rewinding x

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  10. I have the same password for everything and have had it for 13 years. So far so good...but gee, somebody could just about take over my life if they figured it out!
    Visiting from The Rewind

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  11. Years ago, I left a pre-set password of "teacher" for my log-in at school, and a kid guessed it and went into my account. OK, I guess that was pretty stupid! Now I have a million variations on the same basic one (adding various numbers and letters to meet all the various requirements), and I have to type in five different tries everywhere because I can never remember which is which.

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  12. I constantly have to reset passwords if they can't all be the same. Most annoying!

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  13. I have great, easy to remember passwords. One is the first name of a friend, that friends birthday and the last name. Like John218Smith. For strength I add a ! somewhere. Another password I have uses a phone number I had when I was a kid plus part of my address. (phone numbers in those days used names and numbers, so the password would be something like Tuxedo54839+182) Very easy to remember, very difficult to guess!

    Of course, I watched 24 and NCIS and Criminal Minds and I know that Chloe, McGee or Garcia could crack them in an eyeblink.

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  14. Blimey. I wouldn't have lasted 48 hours there, brain like a sieve!

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  15. Oh my god, I KNOW. I worked for a major Wall Street firm until recently, and the official company policy for creating passwords did not even fit the password format requirements of most of the applications. And we had monthly and quarterly control access reviews and constant password updates required. I kept mine on a Word doc which was password protected but not with anything as complicated as K2PWLcLiUtP.
    Night. Mare.

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  16. Last paragraph: Are you serious?!

    Funny! - but I guess not so funny then.

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