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Changing passwords isn't easy.
Changing passwords isn't easy. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

What's in a password name?

I recently started a new gig so of course, that meant I needed a new password.

This new password was to activate the company computer system. I also have a password for my new e-mail.

This is on top of the various passwords I use to access vital information in my life, everything from my banking account to retirement savings to credit card summaries to my personal medical history.

I have passwords for the numerous websites I regularly visit for information and entertainment – no, that kind – along with passwords for some places that I rarely go but need a password anyway.

At last count, I have about eight active passwords to remember during the course of a regular week.

And, every now and then or even fairly often, I get asked to change the password for security's sake.

To which I say: "Arrrrrrrghhh!"

The standard advice about passwords used to be pretty simple: Don't tell anyone else your password. Guard it with your life.

These days, a vow of silence doesn't work anymore. The computers have decided to make it pretty difficult for human beings until the time arrives when they take over and all the passwords don't really matter anymore.

It can be a real hassle changing passwords. Whenever I create a new password, I get automatic prompts telling me how to mix things up for better security.

It tells me that I can't just pick my favorite color or the name of my childhood pet; I need a combination of letters and numbers, some case-sensitive, some not. The password has to be a certain length as well, no short nicknames or abbreviations anymore. 

I'm regularly told I should not use passwords that I have used in the past, which is a real bummer for guys like me who uses at least eight variations of the same word as a password across several accounts.

My main go-to password includes the name of the street in Philadelphia where I grew up. I know, that's risky to divulge but I'm willing to bet none of you hackers can come up with it. (At least, I hope so.)

Some sites even rate the difficulty of your password while you're creating it. There's nothing more disheartening to receive a cyber-message telling you that the degree of difficulty for your proposed password is pretty "weak".

As if I don't have enough problems with self-confidence when it comes to this stuff!

I submit it's fairly impossible to keep up with all of your passwords in a fail proof manner and even harder to figure out where to store them for future reference. Of course, the most logical place for passwords to your various computer networks and websites is a file on your computer. But guess what?

Sometimes you have to log back onto your computer after a required re-boot or re-start and one of the first things you have to do when the electronic brain fires up is…well, you know.

You have to type in your password. You know, the one you forgot.

I've got a dead tree file of my passwords kept hidden in a safe place at home. So safe, in fact, I couldn't remember where I put it the last time I wanted to use it for reference. As a result, I've been locked out of one particular site for weeks now, even after sending request after request for help resetting password.

The administrator seems more than willing to help me with my dilemma. Of course, he/she needs my password first.

I think I'll just let this one disintegrate into the ether and go to the place where unused passwords go to die. 

Talkbacks

littletinyfish | Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:21 a.m. (report)

35524 Eugene, you need something like 1Password: https://agilebits.com/onepassword It's a program that remembers your passwords for you and works across all your devices. It's also incredibly secure. Generate complex, unmemorable passwords and never worry about forgetting them.

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