Let us unite against the Password Nazis

Software developers, what is going on in your brains? Seriously. I want to know. I need to… understand.

I picture this conversation taking place in every suburban household and with every burgeoning young computer science student:

Student: Mom, I’m going to consider a future career in the tech industry.
Mom: That’s wonderful, Timmy!
Student: Thanks. I have an intense desire to torment people.
Mom: I’m glad you are taking the bull by the horns. Now get back into your cage, here’s some fresh fish guts, and I’ll let you out for a while next week.
Student: Thanks mom! You’re the best!

But I digress. Let me back up.

Last week I renewed my auto insurance. I thought I would go on the Geico website and print out the new insurance card. Little did I know how difficult this plan might be.

Pulling out my laptop I first opened my spreadsheet of passwords. Like many of you, I have so many passwords in my life I can’t possible remember them all so I keep a giant list. On this spreadsheet, I found the web ID and the corresponding login and password identifiers. Then I navigated to the insurance company website and clicked the login button.

So far so good.

Logincode99@live.com   (yes this is my real email address)
Password: monkeynutZ   (no this isn’t my real password, but it’s not that much different)
Computer response: “The login credentials you entered do not match our records.”

Hmm… Maybe I typed that incorrectly. Let’s try it again.

Computer response: “The login credentials you entered do not match our records.”

What? Fine. I’ll give it one more try.

Computer response: “The login credentials you entered do not match our records.”

Damn you. If only these login pages would let you read what you are actually typing instead of a series of ••••••• which leads me to my first request from software developers…

Request #1 – Let us read the password as we type it!

I already know what you are going to say. “But Darin, what about cyber-security? What if someone sees your password?” How often are you typing a password with someone looking over your shoulder? Rarely. Simply include a checkbox to hide your password, but make the default able to be read. That’s easy enough, right?

Back to our Geico website. I clicked the button to reset the password, waited for them to text me a code, punched in the code, which brought me to another login page.

Enter New Password: monkeynutZ

Computer response: “You cannot use a password you have previously used.”

Request #2 – Let us use a previous password!

For the love of all that’s holy my password management system is long and complicated enough without you making me think of a new password!

Enter New Password: monkeyballZ

Computer response: “Password not strong enough. Please use at least one special character.”pw rules

At this point I’m fuming. If the computer programmer who created this travesty was in front of me right now I’d pick up his router and beat him to death with it.

Enter New Password: @monkeyballZ

Computer response: “Password strength – moderate. Proceed to login page.”

Moderate. How dare this machine choose to give me a grade, barely passing. Visions of Mrs. Oxley’s third grade math class flashed before me as I struggled to figure out my first fraction. For a moment I thought I would intentionally pee my pants just to get out of her class and go home.

Logincode99@live.com
Password: @monkeyballZ
Computer response: “The login credentials you entered do not match our records.”

Umm…

Wait…

I’m just trying to print out a g#%^ d*@! insurance card! Does it have to be this f*#&@$ hard!?

Password rage. It’s a real thing. They should have a support group. A twelve step program.

I did the only thing I could do. Once again reset my password and added another character. I take a deep breath.

Logincode99@live.com
Password: @@monkeyballZ
Computer response: “The login credentials you entered do not match our records.”

We have now gone beyond the level of ridiculousness into the magical world of Hogwarts. Coders, you’re the Bellatrix LeStrange of the tech world and I feel like Neville Longbottom’s parents, tormented not quite to the point of death but certainly beyond the point of insanity. This process continued for a half hour until finally I was able to print my documents using the password…

@@m0nk3yb@llZ

I’m exhausted and livid, but finally successful. Which brings me to my last request.

incorrect

Request #3 – Let us use whatever password we want!

If I use 123456 and I get hacked, that’s on me, but stop trying to tell me what to do, Hitler. And if I want to set my homepage to mylittlepony.com, my own computer shouldn’t judge me for it. It doesn’t mean I’m a Bronie… necessarily.

It’s time to stand up against password shaming.

And if I ever see that annoying Geico gecko in real life, I’m going to wring his scrawny little neck.
geico gecko

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