Pain in the A$$words

Pardon the title. It’s late, and I’m strung out, and tired, and I’m just trying to make a point. Passwords and sign on security are getting to the point where I’m ready to just ditch my precious technology and go live on a mountain in Montana or something. I’ve tried since getting on the Internet in 1996 to keep fairly standard passwords so that I don’t have to remember (and record, which can be stolen) my passwords and logon information, especially at work where I often deal with sensitive accounts. It can be a security violation to write down a password for some of the networks that I need to access. The problem is that password standards are reaching the point where it is impossible to NOT maintain a record. What do you do when you need to access three or more networks or websites, each has a different logon, with different password requirements and change periodicity? How do you remember rand keep all of that straight? Some passwords that I’m required to keep have to be a minimum of 14 characters, with at least 1 number, one upper case letter, one lower case letter, and one special character.

PayPal just about pushed me over the top this evening. I used their system for a transaction today, and got an email later that they believe my account has been accessed by a 3rd party and had a restriction placed on it. I went through the processes to lift the restriction. The first step had to do with verifying my location. They needed a phone number. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything with my PayPal account that they still had my landline number that was disconnected more than 3 years ago when we got fed up with paying Verizon $50 a month for an open conduit for telemarketers and cut them off. Now we’re Paying AT&T (The NEW AT&T) for spotty coverage and non-connected calls, but at least no telemarketers. I input my Grand Central number, and PayPal called it. My cell phone rang as it was supposed to and I input the security code. When I hit NEXT on the web page, PayPal said that they can’t verify my location based on that number and they’ll have to mail me a letter. No CRAP PAYPAL! It’s 2008! People have like cell phones and Grand Central numbers and stuff, you freaking idiots!

Next I had to change my password. That sucked. I had to write it down, because there is no way I’ll remember it. I’ve used the same password with PayPal for years. Oh, yeah, then there were those idiotic security questions. Mostly they’re useless to me. What is your favorite restaurant? I don’t know, it changes every week. Who was your favorite teacher? I don’t know, I grew up in the Air Force, went in the Navy, went to ITT Tech and University of Phoenix. I’ve had tons of teachers. I’m not likely to remember very many. I hate those stupid security questions because most of them don’t apply to me. Who is your favorite sports team? I hate sports, I have no use for sports, and as such I have no favorite team. I’m too much of an egghead to just pick one because I’m a geek and I can’t take that kind of lying to myself.

Something has got to be done about security. For the time being, I’m using KeePass on my Pocket PC to keep track of logins and passwords, but even that is getting to be too cumbersome. Somebody needs to straighten things out. I almost just closed my account with PayPal over this, because it’s a pain. At some point, security and convenience need to meet each other and shake hands and come up with a way to coexist.

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