Pick-A-Day

February 2019
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I forgot my username. Or maybe it was my password.

Currently I must remember my username and passwords to 14 mission critical websites – and I am going bonkers.

Remember, by the way that those are only 14 mission critical websites, never mind the second-tier stuff that I a wee-bit less often – so all told, it wouldn’t surprise me if I didn’t have something like 50 different active usernames and passwords.

I know that all the rules say that you’re not supposed to write down your usernames or passwords, but I am about to cry uncle and start writing them down.

Especially when the rules are non-intuitive or impossible to remember.

Over the weekend I discovered that I didn’t know my username for a website that was of passing interest to me historically, but will become incredibly important to me in the future – I actually knew my password – because I’d written it down. To resolve this, I actually had to call somebody, and when I was told my username, it was a username I never would have thought of – a string of ten digits that I apparently had no say in – put together the ten digits don’t even remind me of a phone number. Not even a phone number to Uzbekistan!

Then I decided that I needed to log into another account because I needed to verify some information – once I figured out my username (that only took five tries), I then got my password wrong. Three times. Which locked me out of my account. To resolve this, I actually had to call somebody, and the upshot of it is that I will get a new password sent to me, at my office, sometime in the next month. Fortunately this is not a mission critical website.

At the same time I decided to try and figure out how to log into another account – which I had more success at, even though I didn’t know my password – actually the account has two passwords on it, and I knew one. Too bad the clue for the second one was useless – and it was a clue that I had generated! To resolve this, I actually had to call somebody, and this was a quick fix: my online access to this account was killed and I just had to start anew. Wisely I waited until I got home and had access to my files where I could look up the necessary information.

Password requirements are a bane of my existence, with unreasonable and complicated specifications – the rules below apply to at least two different (important) online accounts that I access regularly:

  • The password must have at least one upper-case letter.
  • The password must have at least one lower-case letter.
  • The password must have at least two numerical digits, but cannot be the same digit.
  • The password must have at least one special character.
  • The password must be at least eight characters long.

Wt42*#F&ck!

Who can remember the resulting nightmare?

I won’t tell you exactly what my password is for the two sites with this ridiculous combination of rules, but suffice it to say that if it were ever accidentally leaked, the information security techs would know what I think of them.

As$h0l3s!

9 comments to I forgot my username. Or maybe it was my password.

  • I just use password123 for everything. Works for me.

    Whoops.

  • Don’t worry, we’ll soon have no need for passwords as soon as our government overlords start putting microchips in all of us in the name of security.

  • Mateo

    They should have a site online where you can save all your usernames and passwords. You’ll need a username and password to keep all that info secure.

  • Steven Glassman

    @Adam – I feel your pain… I have at least two dozen individual id/password combinations *for my job,* and that’s before the dozens of sites I’ve signed into for personal use over the years. And they all have different password structure requirements, of course.

    @Mateo – they do have a site online where you can save all your usernames and passwords under one master password. It’s called http://lastpass.com/. I use it myself- it includes browser plugins that will save passwords automatically, autofill them, and even generate random and secure passwords on the fly when you’re signing up to a new site.

  • Mateo

    I knew there was a site where you could save passwords. I just thought it was funny that you’d need another password to access it! 🙂

  • ann

    Hey Adam,
    We use keepass. I was reluctant at first, but I am now a huge fan. I just can’t keep up with all of the passwords and this way you only HAVE to remember 1. With dropbox, you can have it on your smartphone as well.

  • MT

    D’oh! We had this problem with our cable username/password the other day. The Coach had to call them and get the info so we could log into NBC’s stupid Olympics App. It’s the only way I get to watch the obscure shit that I like — namely, horses and cute dudes who shoot arrows.

  • ian – thanks for the tip. Hope you don’t mind the blog posts that I will add to your blog…

    Scott – cute!

    Cynical Queer – I have a chip now. But it’s in my German ID card…

    Mateo – Naturally. Maybe another website can keep that secure for you.

    Steven – I realized later that I’d undercounted the number of important usernames and passwords that I must remember… doh! But I won’t keep them online…

    ann – Dropbox isn’t secure by any stretch of the imagination. My office has specifically banned dropbox because of its insecurity and its TOS which introduce a number of copyright issues, something that must be avoided in my line of work.

    MT – did you need to know special passwords for that?