Password Peril

“We’ve detected some virus activity on your account. Please change your password.”

These sorts of emails send me into a panic. What was the original password for that credit card, store, membership, account, automatic bill, newsletter, blog, or whatever else I may do online?

And what causes me more worry: What should I change it to? I’ve already run the gamut of options: my kids’ names, birthdays, pets’ names, street I grew up, a collection of house numbers, city I was born. I try to be original yet simple. My website designer insists I use something obscure with all the symbols, @#$%^&*K+=.. for example. It’s impossible to remember and means I have to find her email, copy and paste the hieroglyphics into what I need to open. Too many steps.

If you’re like me, never fear. There are online operating systems that can manage your passwords for you.

And all you need to remember is one secret mega-password that will then connect you with the rest. Whew, just what I need, another application to learn to use, another word to create and remember to unlock everything else.

I have my own password manager- a little notebook that I keep inside my desk. Very low-tech, inexpensive and for the most part, reliable, if I remember to update it and keep it where I can find it. (under the passport, pile of foreign money, old photographs, keys to various unknown places, and such. )

Yet I still have to change my passwords and struggle to find words I’ll remember. My mother uses foods. Maybe I’ll try that.

I’ve been working with a trainer, Rob, for a few months to see if I can strengthen my core and thus prevent my back from aching. In between abs and arm exercises, I complained that my children only remembered my birthday Monday after their father sent them an email. Quickly, I received three phone calls. Rob told me that when he went to college, his mother opened up a bank account for him, and made his ATM pin her birthday. Now that’s a good password!

For a fun story about password woes read this: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/06/10/130610fi_fiction_park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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23 Responses to Password Peril

  1. Hi Lisa, the best passwords have symbols and caps and numbers and they needn’t be complicated. For example yours could be Lis@<3cycling – 🙂
    Di@n@ xo

    Like

  2. Yes.. still lots to type!

    Like

  3. For the moment you had me worried.I thought it was my password! They drive me crazy. They don’t like my password. They say to use passwords with symbols or passwords that someone else won’t use. I have trouble remembering everyone’s birthday, let alone a crazy password.

    Like

  4. Reflections says:

    Lisa,
    I have so many different passwords it may take me multiple attempts to login to sites I use infrequently, but that I find useful.

    Like

  5. OmaOrBubby says:

    Ha! I relate to this. I used to have a few variations on one theme for my passwords. Music related etc.
    Lately, the system tells me they are “unsafe.” So I add a few symbols and now the system is happy. It’s all about keeping them happy.
    Btw, the emails I get from yahoo or whatever about viruses and emergencies and within 1 day to click on a link or all your email will be lost, so log in and change all passwords, may be spam. That’s my hubby’s take on it. Be aware.

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  6. i find there’s a real intimacy about passwords too. Occasionally my daughters and I have shared them for various purposes, and it always feels a little odd revealing what you have selected.

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  7. My apple store instructor told me her secret to passwords: she types her first name and the the name of the site she is logging into. For example, to log into amazon your password would be “lisaamazon.” I thought that was pretty clever.

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  8. Good way to remember! Like it. Thanks!

    Like

  9. Drjcwash says:

    I have to have very complex passwords to fit the criteria. I have to keep them in order. I did confuse one and I was locked out. Then you have to admit how stupid you are to the tech expert at the Help Desk. I know how you fell.

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  10. OK so I’m impressed you have a website designer AND a trainer! Maybe I shouldn’t ignore all those scary emails urging me to change my password? Here’s the kicker, does your husband share his passwords? Mine doesn’t and I’m not sure what this means…what if he keels over suddenly….

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  11. I know some of his– I’m all about the little notebook!
    Website- after I did the first book– I do need to start using it more to promote the books, myself, etc.
    Trainer– getting bored with it -but thought might help keep the back stronger. I’d rather go to yoga or ride my bike– esp. now with nicer weather.

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  12. Oh, yes it sure can! Be sure to wear comfortable, safe shoes!

    Like

  13. The issues of online security is a huge thing these days. A recent talk show I was listening to was discussing how Internet Explorer would never recover from recent breaches… it amazes me! I’ve been trying to get down to 2-4 passwords that we will use, in the hopes that we don’t forget them. The use of capital letters and numbers helps make them more secure: Lisa123 is safer than lisa123… Ugh. I’m too old for this! 😉

    Like

  14. hugmamma says:

    Scary, isn’t it? I got a similar notice from AOL. My knee jerk reaction was to end all internet use. Totally impractical in this day and age, of course. And I could never give up blogging…and chatting with friends, like you and others. So here I am, continuing to hope for the best…and believing that my password is crazy complicated enough to work. At least that’s what my daughter and husband think. They never remember what it is…too many twists and turns…beginning with a fact only the three of us know. Although I would never hazard to say…never. You never know these days…

    Like

  15. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me
    of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting
    about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Like

  16. Sidney says:

    Hi friends, its fantastic piece of writing regarding cultureand
    fully explained, keep it up all the time.

    Like

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