Love Is Never Having To Change Your Password
“You’ve got an invalid haircut / And it hurts when you smile / You’d better get out of town / Before your nickname expires” Warren Zevon ~ Life’ll Kill Ya
I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the “Heartbleed” bug, an insidious super cyber thief that invades websites, steals personal security information, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. I’ve never changed some of my passwords, ever, since the dawn of time, or at least since my last three computers passed away.
This morning I opened an e mail from a company whose name I did not even recognize informing me that, although they had no reason to believe their security had been breached, they were advising everyone on their client list to change their passwords. I’m on THEIR client list? Who the Hell are these people? This really got my attention since I don’t even recognize their name or remember doing business with them. I have no record of my user name or password with them. However, they remember me, and if THEY have my e mail and other information, I can only assume the situation is far more serious than I even want to know. My cozy little veil of denial dropped away as I realized, that while my slovenly ways in never organizing my sock drawer may never result in any kind of serious consequence, outside of occasionally mismatched socks, THIS could cause some serious grief if left unattended. With a deep sigh of resignation, I decided to go all in and change my user name and passwords for over 32 websites. TODAY. Right now. No more screwing around.
After much pulling of hair, gnashing of teeth and rending and tearing of garments, I completed this odious task. My brain was fried and I was a gibbering idiot, reverting to one finger keyboard pecking and using a cheat sheet. But maybe this is the kind of rigorous mental activity that helps stave off Altzheimers, or causes a complete mental breakdown. Now, If only I could remember my own name….
Many sites have a “password helper” that rates the quality of your password on a spectrum of “strong” to “this really sucks. Why don’t you just advertise it on Facebook?” If you follow their recommendations you’ll create passwords like the rare Enigma machine used by the Nazis to send coded messages. My usernames and passwords are combinations of irrational numbers and Pleadian star language, closely modeled after the nuclear launch codes, and the secret combination that protects the vaults at Fort Knox. The problem is, I’ll never be able to remember any of them. They’re all so counterintuitive that it takes two or three tries for someone blessed with sausage fingers like mine. I feel like I’m already trying to hack myself. This is not good, since many sites freeze your access for at least 24 hours after three bungled attempts.
I’ve already had this error message more than once: “Hey numb nuts! You entered an old password. You changed your password 4 hours ago.”
Old dogs learn new tricks slowly…..