The problem with passwords: a minor rant

My job requires that I register and join many, many website databases, nearly all of which require a username and password. In the beginning (when the heck was that?), this was fine, but it has gotten to the point where it’s pretty friggin’ ridiculous trying to remember literally hundreds of username/password combinations. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone back to a site where my cookie has crumbled and have tried to log back in only to be greeting by some words on a screen yelling at me, because the stupid username and password don’t match. AUGH!

Then there’s trying to recover a password only to find that the email address on file is no longer in use. And since my favorite username has already been taken (by me, of course), I have to start the registration process all over. Grrrr.

But nothing irritates me like sites that force their own password rules on me, especially those that require “at least one number” in the mix. WTF? I mean, really. Why should you care what I select for a password?

Maybe it’s because it’s Friday, but can we puh-leeeeeeze have some uniformity here?

Or not.


  1. Password management is built into some browsers and widely available as addons for IE.

  2. Terry,
    Check out It’s really a great piece of software to solve the problem you’re having. Best 30 bucks I’ve spent.

  3. What bugs me most about the lack of a uniform standard is that it makes everything far less secure. How do you remember 20 different passwords in 20 different formats? You can’t, of course, so you write them down. Brilliant.

  4. Seamus, your method is probably safer than mine. I have four different passwords, and I use one of the four for just about everything. If I can’t remember which one I used for which site, I just run through them until it hits. That’s probably REALLY stupid. Maybe I need to buy that roboform thing. Sheesh.

  5. puff65537 says

    The number thing comes from password security best practices of the 90’s, forcing a numeral into the password makes it 10x harder to brute force(which really doesn’t mean much if you have the ability to automate the search). Life has moved on, and anti-spam measures do way more for security than fascist password policies, if you can keep the bots out, then they can’t crack your passwords.

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