Think your Password is Safe? Think Again!

PasswordsIn this digital hi tech age there is one thing of vital importance and that is passwords! It doesn’t matter if you are using a laptop, a PC, an iPad, a smartphone or even your credit card, a password is vital but it is also something of a huge pain in the rear. Different passwords for different web sites; your PC, your iPad, your smartphone, your bank cards. How can you remember them all? Easy, use something simple: great idea! Actually, no, it’s a bad idea, very bad!

Looking on the internet, a little research reveals that one of the most popular passwords is Password. Yes, some people apparently think computer security is of such low importance that they use a password like that.

Come to think of it, one of the systems I use at work has a similar password, only they have replaced the ‘o’ with a zero. Pretty sneaky eh? Bound to deter those resourceful cyber thieves. Yes, my colleagues and I at the Trident Nuclear Launch Centre were pretty pleased with that one!

Here are some other passwords that you shouldn’t use

Yes, don’t try this one at home.

Yes, even with the extra seven, it’s still a little weak!

For Jackson Five fans only!

Yes, it’s right there on the keyboard in front of you. Good reminder if you forget it.

Another variation of the 123456 theme.

Using the name of your favourite sport –Good idea if you are a fan of Japanese underwater polo!

This word comes up on a lot of lists of bad passwords, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps there are a lot of fans of the old badly dubbed Japanese TV series ‘Monkey’. People do use names of their favourite TV show though, perhaps that  explains why I used to use Fireball XL5 until I became rather interested in . . . oops, nearly let the cat out of bag there!

One final password story to finish. This doesn’t concern the internet but years ago I got a job working for a cigarette vending company. It was a bit of a pain getting to work that first week because I didn’t have a car. The bus nearest to my home didn’t start early enough so I had to take a twenty minute hike further up the road to catch the earlier bus to Warrington and then catch another bus from Warrington to work. Towards the end of the week my manager asked how I was getting on and I replied OK, apart from the trek to work. “What,” he said. “Why didn’t you say? You might as well take one of the spare vans; they only get used when one of the newer ones breaks down.”

That night I drove home in my very ‘own’ small ford van. In order to start the van you had to insert the key then enter a number on the keypad on the dashboard. Security was the watchword my boss explained. Our vans carried cigarettes, cigars and cash from the cigarette machines. It was vital to protect our assets and profits.

To start the van you had to enter a code into the pad. It was a six figure number and my boss stressed I couldn’t share it with anyone and writing it down was frowned upon. Anyway, I memorised the number, started the van and set off.

All went well that first week but somehow, between Friday night and Monday morning I suffered an inexplicable memory loss. Time after time I entered what I thought was the number only to see code incorrect flash up on the dash.
Eventually I had to admit defeat and call my boss. He wasn’t happy and rather dismissively passed me over to one of the other drivers.

“Where are you now?” asked the driver.
“Sat in the cab” I answered meekly.
“Well pull the sun visor down and tell me what you see.”

I pulled down the visor and there, in ballpoint pen, despite our company code of ethics; protecting profits and assets and so on, someone had written the high security code.

It was 234561! A slight variation on the number one password from the list of all-time worst passwords!

If you liked this post, why not try my book Floating In Space? Click the links at the top of the page for more information.

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