Passwords: A Cautionary Tale

June 11, 2011 at 2:14 am (Uncategorized)

There are many perks and pesky annoyances working for the federal government.  If “water club” means anything to you, you understand what I’m talking about.  The frequent changing of bureaucratically long passwords with an appropriate number of characters (which do not include “f&*@this”) is one of my pet peeves of government work.  Even if you are not dealing with state secrets every computer is protected this way.  I have multiple extremely long passwords for various databases at work.  Trying to find creative ways to remember them all is getting harder with each dreaded software update.  I sometimes wonder if my parents or a close friends could ever figure out how to hack into my password protected files on their own?  For example, how many Bostonians have “yankeessuck” “yankeessuck1” “yankeessuck12” and “yankeessuck123” as a password?  I could commit identity theft in picturesque, puritan towns left and right across New England.

During a conversation with a VP in my office the other day, he told me the story of a son who sadly passed away in his 20s.  He suffered an illness from birth.  His parents wanted to notify all of his friends and knew that email was probably the best source and contact list.  They couldn’t figure out his password and asked one their son’s IT whiz/hacker friends to help.  The friend easily cracked the code: “DukeSucks!”  Yes, this young man went to a rival school.  The VP just laughed when he told me how they had no clue he was so into sports!

When I was a freshman in college, my first boyfriend and I shared our school email passwords with each other.  I don’t remember why we did this, but at the moment it seemed intimate.  While my password was clever and historically accurate, his was “[first name] thegreat69.”  Looking back, there were signs.  I probably should have ended it that day, but my 18-year old haze was adjusting to daily kissing. I never shared a password again.

So let this be a lesson to the kids, teens, rising political stars from Brooklyn/Queens, you never know when some tragedy requires others to discover your passwords.  Don’t make yourself look like a juvenile tool to your loved ones in their time of grief!

What is Congressman Weiner’s Twitter password? Probably “Anthonythegreat69!”


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