Secret passwords have lost luster

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

Am I the only person on the planet who was sincerely shocked to hear this week that the most common password for secret passwords is “password?”

Duh!

If your “becoming-more-complex-by-the-minute life” is anything like mine, then you’ve started to notice you need a filing cabinet to keep track of all of the secret passwords you need to access important things like your bank account, cell phone account, credit or debit card, Amazon.com account, your school grades and class schedules, your child’s school grades and class schedules, your e-mail accounts (and most of us have more than one e-mail address now), your online subscription accounts, your Chevy porn account, as in the case of my friend Bernard, and the list goes on and on.

I admit I was seriously shocked when Matt Lauer said on the Today show that “password” is the most common password. I thought I had it all figured out. Just type in password for everything. That’s easy to remember and who would ever guess the password is “password?”
Just about 9 million other people.

I also started off using easy-to-remember passwords or access codes like, “1,2,3,4” until one day, when I had to tell a co-worker my telephone access code, and he laughed and made a smart remark, “No one will ever figure that one out!” So I took that as a not-so-subtle hint to change my password.

Other than that, I figured most of my information was of little value to other people. Heck, it’s of little value to me, too. But now I’m starting to re-evaluate that thought and so I do plan to go back and change many of my “password” log-ins to something more clever — maybe something like “Open sesame!”

When I was a child, passwords were fun. Now, they’re a headache. I can’t even log onto one of my new e-mail accounts now because I not only forgot my password, I also forgot my e-mail address. LOL.

Remember when you were a child and you’d block the door from someone or stick your foot out and refuse to let them pass by to get a Coke during a commercial unless they said the secret password? It was usually something like, “Open sesame!” or the magic word, “Please?”

It was a little more complicated, but still fun, when you required a secret password that only members of a private club knew in order to gain access to something as exclusive as the old fort, as we called it, in back of Grandma Emma’s house.

Then we’d get a little creative or even mean sometimes and make some not-so-nice passwords for people we wanted to exclude. To gain entrance, they’d have to say something like, “I’m a fartknocker” or “I pee in bed at night.” It was all child’s play though and it was still fun, unless, of course, you were the one they were trying to exclude.

These days, passwords are just headaches. To further complicate things, experts now advise, and I guess rightfully so, not to keep all of your important passwords written down in the same place. So now I have the added problem of not only having to change some of my passwords and write them down, but to be sure to not place them all in the same hiding place. That sounds easy, but to further complicate things, I have to not only remember the passwords, which I’m sure to forget, but I also have to remember where I hid them.

What happens if I not only forget my password, but I forget where I hid my written record of it? Remember, I cannot keep them all together in one nice little file. Does that mean I now have to create a “secret” file of where all of my secret files are?

I sure do miss the simple days of “Open sesame!”

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at:
helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com