Secure World Problems

Passwords are the bane of modern existence. I have at least 37 ongoing at moment, mostly variations on football players that once played for Huddersfield Town AFC. I would like to unify my catalogue of passwords into one Überpassword, but the IT online security departments have created insurmountable obstacles to my one password utopia.

Indeed, there is no rhyme or reason to the level of security, the level of difficulty required for these passwords. My bank would let me use PASSWORD, meanwhile my university requires that:

1. It is not a fucking word
2. It has random capital letters
3. Those capital letters are not at the beginning of the password.
4. It must have numbers, but they cannot be in any recognisable sequence

IMAG0067

Suggested password: Q7#SQVq4 ? Fuck you, and your exclamation marks too.

I am beginning to think that my university does not want me to sign up for courses. Maybe that is how modern universities force you out. There are too many rules and regulations to actually expel someone, much better to just irritate you into leaving by making the criteria for your passwords so difficult that you just give up. It works to an extent, I do not spend my time writing my masters thesis, as much as I spend my time organising my passwords.

I do not meet that many criminals, but I it is difficult to conceive of someone working day and night to be able to sign me up for miscellaneous university courses . Or perhaps they are:

“BINGO” Tony the mobster shouts to his compadre,”I have finally hacked into Paul Beaumont’s StudentWeb!”

“At last”, Jimmy  exclaims, “I have waited for this day my whole working life. Sign him up for Advanced Development Studies!”

“One step ahead of you Jimmy, I have signed him up for that and Intersectional Feminism, in a post conflict nexus”

And so it went, the criminal masterminds put aside their plans for making money through scheming and cheating, and signed me up for several courses that I was only vaguely interested in. When the news got back to the heads of security at the university they were distraught. They could not understand how their remarkably complex criteria for passwords had been broken. The problem they had not considered of course, was that:

The harder you make the password, the more likely professional idiots like me will write it down and lose it.

In conclusion, let us fucking make the passwords we want and deal with the consequences. Yes idiots will lose, but idiots always lose. University students do no need the security one typically associates with tactical nuclear weapons.

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About Paul Beaumont

Occasional journalist, part-time socialist & full time International Relations PhD student. Available for hire - but never in the morning. Academia page: https://umb.academia.edu/PaulBeaumont
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3 Responses to Secure World Problems

  1. nrkatalyst says:

    I feel your pain. I finally gave up and started using LastPass, a password manager that I can access from anywhere to randomly generate and hold all of my passwords. Then I use a passphrase, which is a short sentence (mine is a quote), for my password manager.

    Although, last I heard writing down passwords isn’t the worst. I guess physical and virtual thiefs don’t often wade into each other’s terrirory.

  2. coxy says:

    I also recommend lastpass. And, whilst I can’t agree to the importance of the need for an (in)efficient password for a university portal, I do admire their commitment to security measures.

  3. banivani says:

    Commenting a year and a half later: I agree completely about passwords and can only quote The Oatmeal here: if I want my password to be “boobs” it’s my own shitty decision and you should let me roll with it. Then I have a tip, that works if you read fantasy or science fiction i.e. literature with made-up words i.e. not real words. Or fairytales? Fairytales can work. Pick one word from your favourite storybook, that happens to be of a sufficient length. Maybe a name that you just type together. Like Joffrey Baratheon, to use a current hit example. Put the obligatory capital on the B (easy to remember, but not at the start), and swap some of the letters for the numbers that equal the letters. So j0ffr3yBarath30n for example. Use this for EVERYTHING. Keep a stash of maybe six of these to swap between for when the feckers want you to change passwords. This is maybe the best tip I have to give anyone about anything, apart from “bribes work” when I’m asked about raising kids.

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