Thoughtful Thursday: Password

March 1, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the March Intelligentsia.

#29: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#25: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#25: Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV
#21: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#13: Tara from Turkey In My Oven
#11: St. Elsewhere
#9: Cat
#9: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#4: Sara from Aryanhwy

Thoughtful ThursdayA friend just created an electronic account on my behalf and in the process he had to pick a password. He chose the names of Burrito and Tamale. Children’s names would be a logical and very reasonable choice, but I have never used their names — or anything related to them — as a password. I most often use passwords that are somewhere between mantra and pep talk, sprinkled with characters to make them harder to hack. Another favorite theme are inside jokes between me and DH. Almost as often, I have used passwords that related to my cat.

Because I am tech saavy and helpful, people have been coming to me for computer help for two decades. As a result, I have been privy to many, many different passwords over the years. I find it to be a delightful peek into people’s souls. Sports teams. Favorite places. Nostalgia. Special dates. Loved ones. Nicknames. Movies/songs/books/TV. The obvious (“password”).

My favorites — the most revealing about the true person — are the passwords that talk about the kind of life people want to life. Maybe if you type it often enough, it will happen.

Don’t tell me any passwords, of course, but…
How do you choose your passwords? What do they say about you?

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16 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Password”

  1. a Says:

    We have the big no-no – a stock password that we use for most accounts. But, when I have to get creative at work, I tend to go with my attitude. I am often tempted to use swear words, but I suspect they’d get flagged. What do they say about me? That I am a disgruntled employee who rebels veeerrrry quietly. It’s a silent protest against the ridiculous.

    When I have to do the crazy password (Capitals! Special Characters! Letters! Numbers! More than 8 characters!), I tend to go with my daughter’s name.

  2. Elana Kahn Says:

    I also use almost the same password on everything – or variations on it. It’s one that I started using when I was a kid and I just kept it. It’s kind of random, really. It doesn’t say much about me other than I’m silly and childish. 😀 My husband is the password master – he always uses numbers and letters and mixes them all up like f1i2n3g4e5r or something like that. He rocks!

  3. Kathy Says:

    Very interesting post and questions! I never thought about this before, but I guess the words and numbers we choose for our passwords do say a lot about us. Mine usually have connections to family members and significant dates in my life. So I guess that means, really I know it does, my family is very important to me. 🙂

  4. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Well, I have no specific criteria of choosing passwords. But I do not like to use numbers in my passwords (yeah, ouch, password strength compromised!). I will only use numbers if the website makes it mandatory.

    One of the weirdest ex-passwords I had was a combination of a body part, an automotive part and a bird.

    Sometimes, things and people I am fascinated with also land up in the password. How about Judas’s surname?

    Also, I have never used actual names (irl) of myself or any of my family for passwords, except that CBub’s name does figure in one of the passwords – that’s a first for me.

    Also, another I have is the name of a character from a medical science fiction book.

    My passwords tell that I like books, like weird combinations, and think of someone a lot. I think that’s it….don’t know any other way of interpreting this.

    And oh, once I change passwords, I do it for every account…that’s the set pattern…so none of it is stale.

  5. Sara Says:

    I’m married to a computer geek. My passwords are automatically generated by some automatic-password-generation thing, and then I look at them, truncate them, remove a few of the really annoying characters, and then try like heck to memorize them — or get firefox to do it for me!


  6. My passwords are usually a combination of initials (in a variety caps or lower case), previous house or telephone numbers, birthdays, with a comma added every now and then. I also find that the abbreviations used in the ALI blogland (for .. days past .. transfer etc) work well in combination with something else ;-).
    Of course this all means that my passwords are pretty secure, but have no way of memorizing them all, so I’m very grateful for my Mac’s “keychain” program!

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    I have what I think is a clever system – I pick a phrase and use the first letter of each word in the phrase, inserting numbers and capitals in places that are logical (to me) and easy to remember (for me), usually phrases that have personal significance to me in some way. So they’re really secure, AND I have no trouble remembering them and I never write them down.

    I used to use foreign words but I don’t so much anymore.

    My husband can NEVER get my passwords straight even though I’ve explained my system to him over and over again, and written and spelled out the most pertinent ones. Nope. Can’t get it (he’s very smart so I think he just isn’t trying).

    He, on the other hand, has a very easy to remember and NOT very secure system. So that means that I can easily access all his accounts, but he can’t access mine. I’m not sure what that says about our marriage (other than that I’m also a more private person than he is – and I should handle all the important stuff online, like banking etc.)

  8. Ana Says:

    I have a “usual” password that is actually a variation on profanity that I came up with after trying to set a password for something and getting rejected over and over. I liked it so much I decided to use it for many many different accounts going forward. Of course its sprinkled with extra numbers & symbols which are unique to each account… My other go-to password is variations on my childhood pet’s name—nobody I know now except my family knows/remembers that name, so I think its safe. I never use my children’s names. For numerical passwords (pin numbers or the lock code on my phone) I’m more obvious—birthdays/anniversaries.
    After major mishaps trying to access some of my financial accounts at tax time, I decided to keep (safely hidden on my laptop) an electronic record of all my passwords.
    My husband has ridiculously safe and hard to remember passwords. He also never writes them anywhere so we’ve had to re-create accounts sometimes, because we can’t get in!

  9. Rebecca Says:

    My default password was actually set up by a friend way back in about 1998 when he set up a hotmail account for me. It was partly to do with my screen name then, which is why he chose it. I still use that password on different accounts and variations of it everywhere.

    My eBay password has a swear word in it, from when I was getting very frustrated with it one day!

    Our joint Paypal password has a nickname we call our cat, that way it’s easily remembered by both of us 🙂


  10. If I tell you I have to….

    Wait. I did tell you once. Did it say I really loved the turtle I had in 1st grade?

  11. Jules Says:

    I used to have a few different ones (the usual sports team, special dates, etc). Now I have a generic ‘no-no’ password for most things, but I still have the odd alternative one for things that I’ve forgotten to change.


  12. I never, ever use dates or kids or anything like that. Being a paranoid nerd, it’s usually some random combination of a song lyric and a bunch of numbers and characters I like. And usually the song is associated with either a really good or a really bad memory.

  13. strongblonde Says:

    i’ve had a few passwords that were go-to passwords over the years. some favorites were variations on my great-grandmother’s maiden name and initials. she had a VERY unusual name and I was almost named after her.

    one other one that was my narcotic password for work for a long time involved a variation on my MIL’s maiden name and initials. i KNEW that nobody would ever, in a million years, think that i would have anything to do with HER for my password. ha!!

    one that i still use frequently for less secure things dates back to college. in undergrad the whole house i lived in shared a computer for internet access. with dial up. this was before wireless, of course. because of the proximity to the phone line, my roommate’s computer was selected. because of that, we all had to learn her password. 🙂 i still use it today for some things. it was the name of her childhood dog with some dates after it. whenever i have to tell it to my sister or b they are SO confused!!! 🙂

  14. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    My main go to password is my license plate from 3 states and 3 cars ago. If I have to, I’ll throw an exclamation point on the end. Nav & my shared accounts have a place-date combo that’s meaningful to both of us.

    I keep meaning to find a sentence that means a lot to me and obfuscate the first letter of each word to make a new fool-proof password. Nothing has struck me as the one so I’m still searching.

  15. Cat Says:

    YES! I’m finally back on the Intelligentsia list!

    Regarding passwords, I’m terrible. I have virtually the same password for all my accounts. It’s a former pet’s name that we almost never called her by because my sister chose a truly ridiculous name and we called her a nickname instead. I add special characters and/or numbers as required or if the account has significant personal or credit card information.

    When I used to have a job with a pay check, their system required my to change my password regularly. I’d usually choose a word from something on my desk, so it could have been anything from “bluecup” to “attempt” which was on my paperweight that said ‘What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?’ Really, I’d pick anything just to get past the task of picking a new password and get on with my day.


  16. Thanks for your insight! That was wonderful 🙂


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