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  #1  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:08 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Password burnout

The point has finally been reached--I can no longer remember all my passwords. Does everyone use (as is stronglly suggested) a different password for each website, bank account, computer login, e-mail account, and six zillion other things? How do you cope? Do you carry in your wallet a list of all your passwords? Do you encode that list, in case your wallet is stolen? Do you just say screw it, I'm using the same password everywhere? How about places that insist you use letters AND numbers, or just numbers, or more than six digits, or fewer than four?

What systems do you use to keep the passwords secure and easily available?
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:13 AM
acrossthesea acrossthesea is offline
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If I told you my methods, they wouldn't be as safe and secure anymore. : )

Cool user name by the way.
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:13 AM
Munch Munch is online now
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A friend of mine has a flash drive he carries on his keychain. Just plugs into the USB port of any computer (that has a USB port...), and it keeps track of your online passwords. I imagine you can encode it so that your stuff is safe if your keychain is stolen. Seems like a great idea. It has tons of storage, so you can stash tons of photos and documents on it as well. Said it only cost him ~$30.
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:16 AM
Munch Munch is online now
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Looking online, looks like that $30 may have been a brain fart. They're quite a bit more, anywhere from $70-$200. He works in the industry, and probably got a deal.
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:21 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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My method has served me well for many years. No actual passwords of mine will be used in this post.

I use a word and a serial number. Then I can keep a list by number alone. For example, let's say my word is bedbug, and let's say I have six accounts:
1 - hotmail
2 - bank
3 - SDMB
4 - chat room
5 - amazon
6 - IM

I might use bedbug1 for hotmail, bedbug2 for the bank account, etc.

Or I might use bed1bug, or 1bedbug. Anyway, all I'd have to remember is my word. The list of numbers tied to my accounts would be meaningless without the word.

Feel free to use the patented FCM MethodTM.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2004, 09:56 AM
Small Clanger Small Clanger is offline
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I think it's best to have a good un-guessable password and re-use it. Don't write it down or use it anywhere it's not encrypted.

[soap-box]
It pisses me off when admin force you to regularly change your password 'coz your pretty much forced to use crap like passwd1, passwd2, passwd3.
[/soap-box]

They tried that with the phone system at work (you have to login to receive calls) every week you had to change the 4 number password (you also have a 4 number PIN), and it had a history so it had to be different from the previous 4 PINS, and numbers like 1234, 1111, 4321 were invalid. This policy was abandonded when the system instructed the MD that he had to enter a new password.

I use one password for not-so-secure stuff (like the SDMB) which is a non-word with numbers. And for secure stuff I have another non-word with punctuation characters - that's used for all my computer accounts (lots) there's no way I could remember a different login/password for each box.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2004, 10:27 AM
Frank #2 Frank #2 is offline
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For my online sites, I have 3 main passwords that I use. This way, even if I forget which one I used I know it's one of those 3. For PINs, I try to keep it the same digits. (How often does one use the PIN on their credit card?)

Munch, the USB flash drives are pretty cheap. A 256MB costs around $70-$80. You just have to shop around.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2004, 10:56 AM
Shade Shade is offline
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I have three or four passwords ranging from "one that I tell people" to "for money stuff only" that I reuse (with some appropriate suffix if possible) and change every so often. Any further details I store in an encrypted text file so it's only a temporary problem if I forget something.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2004, 11:01 AM
mailman mailman is offline
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At work, where they force me to change passwords every three months I use John, Paul, George and Ringo.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2004, 11:05 AM
Mr. Blue Sky Mr. Blue Sky is offline
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I usually create passwords based on the site I'm at.

Example: If I wanted to access my Monkeys.com account, I might use something like 4monkeys.
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2004, 12:50 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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For non-vital personal stuff (sorry SDMB counts here) I have 1 signon/password that I use. It's not going to really affect my life if someone gets to all these, and who is really going to try.

For work related software (again, non-vital) I have a second signon/password. I swear, I want to get paid by the number of times I sign on to stuff at work.

For the critical stuff (bank, credit card, ...) I keep seperate signon/passwords.
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  #12  
Old 01-21-2004, 01:04 PM
World Eater World Eater is offline
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Total password burnout. I'm currently juggling about 6 passwords in my head, and unless I use them at least once a week, they're gone.

Of course I have everything written down on scraps of paper that are littered about my room.

I need a Palm Pilot. <sigh>
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  #13  
Old 01-21-2004, 01:08 PM
Bruce_Daddy Bruce_Daddy is offline
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I use the same password for everything and I have for many years. I'm too lazy to try to remember a ton of them.
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  #14  
Old 01-21-2004, 01:18 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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I'm with you . . . We need three different passwords at work to get into various programs, and we have to change them every 30 days. Oh, and the passwords have to have exactly 8 characters and two of them have to be numbers but not in a row and you can't use X or Y except on alternating months and you have to enter them in Pig Latin.

Result is, we have all our passwords scribbled on Post-It notes on our desks, so anyone passing by can copy 'em.
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  #15  
Old 01-21-2004, 01:29 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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Let's see... the password for my e-mail and the Allmans site are the same, haven't changed either in years... different password for the SD, though I've been meaning to make that the same one as well... have to change my school e-mail password every 90 days... there's my New York Times password, and number combinations for two different bank accounts. You know, I thought I had a pretty streamlined system because of the common password, but actually I don't.
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  #16  
Old 01-21-2004, 02:15 PM
VenusProbe VenusProbe is offline
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I thought this thread was going to be about having to relogin to SDMB all the time lately. whats up with that? I have over a dozen different logins that I use for work, all but three of that requie you to change that on a 60-90 day cycle and of course none of them share the same cycle. They all require 8+ characters mixed case and numbers/special characters. So I just write them on a post-it and stick it under my keyboard. I'm sure no one is going to look there.
I have a special way of encoding the application and server name into the password so I can remember which one is which. I just have to remember to throw out the old post-it when the password changes. actually I can remember most of them because the logic behind the creation of it makes me think real hard!

I just realised, I am such a geek.

(for those keeping track, smily count == 5)
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  #17  
Old 01-21-2004, 03:03 PM
Erika Erika is offline
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I've got about 6, that I use with varying levels of publicness, and occasionally one falls out of use / gets introduced. It's not perfect, but I even if I forget which one, there are only really six or so choices, and I've yet to run into trouble.
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  #18  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:02 PM
faithfool faithfool is offline
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I used to regularly use KeyWallet and found it quite useful, easy and user-friendly. Best of all, it's free! I think I should get it again. At least until my divorce is final.
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  #19  
Old 01-21-2004, 08:41 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
What systems do you use to keep the passwords secure and easily available?
I use a random number generator and write them down on a piece of paper which I subesquently loose.
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  #20  
Old 01-21-2004, 10:31 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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There's not too many that have to travel with me, so I just remember those two or three. For the online stuff like message boards, I maintain a cleverly disguised ASCII file that lists them all. If you're determined enough, I suppose you could crack my system and eventually find that file.

Then you could:

1.) Go over to UnaBoard and post as me.

2.)

3.) Profits.
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  #21  
Old 01-21-2004, 11:16 PM
Q.N. Jones Q.N. Jones is online now
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I have one that I use for everything. I keep it totally secret, and it's completely unguessable.

Except for the system log-in at work. I have to change it every 30 days. I can't re-use passwords on that one, so I'm constantly making up new stupid passwords. I have a theme and pick a new word that fits that theme every month. Made up example: science fiction. So, one month, it might be "picard," the next month "starwars," the next month "shatner," whatever. So far, it's working well. There are pretty much limitless possibilities with my theme.
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  #22  
Old 01-22-2004, 12:54 AM
rjk rjk is offline
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Let me count:

Two for Web stuff
Bank card
Work network login
Work Lotus Notes
Work job-tracking software
Work vmail
Work Website access
Work pay-stub info

That's 9 I control. Then there are more at work I use all the time but don't control:

Helpdesk vmail
Helpdesk system status message on vmail
Helpdesk reset script, and the special section within it
Student Novell password database
Remote-control program to take over a user's screen
Generic-user account for staff who don't have Novell accounts yet

That's 7 more, unless I missed something, so 16 that are more or less fresh.

Finally, there are four or five more I don't use often and usually need to look up.

We have users who can't cope with the three or four basic ones, so they want to set them all the same. Unfotunately, a couple are numeric, and one requires a mix of letters and other characters, but at least they can get down to two.
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  #23  
Old 01-22-2004, 01:32 AM
Rhubarb Rhubarb is offline
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I have hit upon a method for dealing with forced password changes at work that seems to work pretty well. I have to change my network login every 3 months, so I have a short (2-5 characters) nonsense word followed by the month/year that I have to change it next. For example, if I changed passwords today, my new pw would be snzx0404 and the old one was snzx0104. The password never repeats, and I never have to memorize a new one. For not so critical passwords, that don't change, I just use the nonsense word alone. It seems to work for me.
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  #24  
Old 01-22-2004, 02:33 AM
Fugazi Fugazi is offline
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Yes! I reached password burnout a long time ago. It's getting so I can't remember my phone number. I was just trying to list out all the crap I need for work & I hadn't realized how bad it has gotten.

Windows login...in windows I have:
Iris login ticketing system
Titan login
Yahoo messenger login
Wavestar Gui login Lucent software
SNMS login more Lucent crap
Artis login A records database
Xpercom Another records database
Unix login...in Unix I have:
Fujitsu login
Netcool login A network monitoring system
SNC 2000 Yet more Lucent crap
React login A remote T1 testing system
Nortel login

Plus my phone and 4 more logins when I'm forced to run security too.

That's just for work, I got more at home. If I didn't use variations on a few basic non-guessable words, I'd be doomed.
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  #25  
Old 01-22-2004, 06:57 AM
Small Clanger Small Clanger is offline
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eve - VenusProbe - Q.N. Jones thanks.

You have confirmed my theory that if you force people to keep changing passwords they degenerate to generic crap and will probably be written on post-its stuck under the keyboard. It happened here with the phone system.

BTW Q.N. all the SciFi stuff is bound to be in any cracking dictionary, but you knew that.
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  #26  
Old 01-22-2004, 07:13 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Pick a word you will remember. Let's say PIRATE
Now let's say the site you are at is amazon.com
Interweave the letters of the site into your word until you run out of room. This is now your password:
PaImRaAzToE

Or just use RoboForm http://roboform.com/
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  #27  
Old 01-22-2004, 08:13 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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The ones that really give me trouble are when I put my login in an autoscript, and after a while I no longer have a clue of what was the password since I never get to use it. That's a pain. So are the change-every-month, non-reusable pwds -- often implemented in places where it's total overkill.

Generaly speaking, I try to associate login names with password patterns -- e.g. if my UserID includes a particular root word or initials, the password uses a permutation of a fixed set of other root "words" (alphanumeric sequences, really) that are meaningful TO ME. If the site does not give me the choice of my own name and pwd I seriously reconsider if I really need to work/shop there.

Having bought a Palm Tungsten|E recently (yay for fun practical toys), I am copying everything onto a "private" memo file with its own relatively-easy-for-me-and-my-trusted-associates password. However I'd rather avoid becoming too dependent on it.
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  #28  
Old 01-22-2004, 11:07 AM
mailman mailman is offline
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Oddly enough, over dinner last night my wife complained of password burnout--hours after I had replied to this thread. She isn't too thrilled with computers to begin with--she's an artist--and couldn't remember a password for some airline site she had joined months ago. Since she couldn't remember the damn thing, I think she booked on another airline--take that password nazis!
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  #29  
Old 01-22-2004, 07:29 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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How ironic. I click "reply" and the hamsters decide to forget who I am and make me enter my name and password.

And now for the other side of the topic...

I've got too many passwords! wah wah wah! I have to change my passwords! boo hoo hoo! How do you think it feels to be someone who administers passwords? At work, I stopped counting after 50 passwords.

Fifty passwords?? Ugh. Yep.

I do on-call support, so if someone pages at an inconvenient time (There seems to be a shift change at 3AM) because they goofed their Unix password, I normally have to go through:

* Cell phone key unlock code to call the luser
* Laptop power-on password
* Windows / LAN password
* Remote access transport password
* Remote access login password
* Remote access PIN for token (device changes a 6-digit number every 60 seconds)
* Unix virtual workstation password (turns my laptop into an X Terminal)
* PIN for Unix access token
* PIN for Unix token administration system
* And on occasion, one of 14 Unix "hostgroup" root passwords. (logical groupings of our 400 or so servers)

How do I keep track of it all? A variety of encrypted databases, obscured lists and memory.
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  #30  
Old 01-22-2004, 11:40 PM
j_sum1 j_sum1 is offline
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I have about half a dozen I suppose of different security levels. Plus I don't know how many four digit PINs of various kinds. And then variations on these for those situations where passwords are required to be changed regularly. For those I keep the same basic "word" but shift one or both of my hands on the keyboard. I have three or four positions that I cycle. Keeps the nonsense look, introduces non alphabetic characters and works like a charm.
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  #31  
Old 01-23-2004, 01:24 AM
Stage Manager Stage Manager is offline
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I have one password and one PIN that I've used for going on twenty years now.

In some cases I have to append '99' at the end for those sites that require letters and numbers.

I've not had my identity stolen (that I am aware of).
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  #32  
Old 01-23-2004, 02:47 AM
sleestak sleestak is offline
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I am down to 10 passwords and I am damned happy about it.

When I worked at AOL in the NOC I had about 30 passwords to remember. That wouldn't be too bad except this. Each password had to be changed weekly. Each password, when changed, had to be unique. In other words you couldn't just change a number on the end or something similar. So I had to keep track of 30 some odd passwords that changed weekly. Then to make things a little more fun they added SecureID. SecureID is a little key chain thingy that you carry around with you. The SecureID keychain has a window that displays a 10(I think it is 10, it might be 12) digit number that changes every few minutes. IIRC, the number changed based upon a signal sent from a satalite. Anyway, once you logged in with your password you had to type in the number on the SecureID fob. Once that was done you could actually login. We tried to track the SecureID numbers to see if we could hack it but we never got anywhere, mainly due to a lack of time. The SecureID numbers change pretty quickly, like every 3 minutes or so IIRC.

I miss working at AOL but I *DO NOT* miss living in password hell.
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  #33  
Old 01-23-2004, 12:32 PM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is online now
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I like Opal's system, I'll have to try it. I tend to rotate among 3 or 4 favorites for all sites and applications. I was a bit embarrassed when at work I had to tell my IT support person what my password was. At the time it was "dog poop"
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  #34  
Old 01-23-2004, 12:59 PM
Kingspades Kingspades is offline
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For important things, I have three meaningless alphanumeric codes that I use as passwords. For less important things, especially website user accounts, I have a standard password that I append the website's URL to the end of. For example, XXXXyahoo, XXXXsdmb, etc.
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  #35  
Old 01-23-2004, 01:20 PM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestak
Then to make things a little more fun they added SecureID. SecureID is a little key chain thingy that you carry around with you. The SecureID keychain has a window that displays a 10(I think it is 10, it might be 12) digit number that changes every few minutes.
Oh god I remember when they started using those! My husband was working for them (Digital Cities actually, at that time) and that thing was such a pain in the ass!
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  #36  
Old 01-23-2004, 01:25 PM
NE Texan NE Texan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch
Looking online, looks like that $30 may have been a brain fart. They're quite a bit more, anywhere from $70-$200. He works in the industry, and probably got a deal.
Munch, I think you were right with your initial estimate of flash drive cost. My MIL has a tax prep business, and she was talking about the nuisance of transferring files from home to work and back (she has an office, but works at home as well). I suggested a flash drive, and helped her find one when we were there over the holidays.

At Office Max, they had a 64MB flash drive for $30, which had a special of the week rebate for $20, making it $10. At that price, she decided she might as well try it.

Now if you want 256M or 512M flash drives, then the price goes up pretty fast. But for passwords? Sure, get whatever size is under $10.

Back to the topic:
I've got one basic password for non-secure sites like message boards. I have a different one for slightly more secure places like my e-mail account. Each of my financial accounts that I can get to online (like, to pay the electric bill) has a slightly different password on a similar theme. At work, they make us change the password periodically. I have four passwords that I cycle through. Each started as a nonsense word that my son used when he was learning to talk (over a decade ago), that incorporates a number (whether it's "1" for "L", or has "one" in it, or whatever) and I cycle through them in numerical order. So they're all mixed case, mixed numerals and letters; none is a dictionary word; but they're easy to remember, and if I was forced to change recently and remember the previous one instead, I know what the current one is. I had a similar set at my previous employer, but I don't reuse the same ones.
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  #37  
Old 01-23-2004, 01:44 PM
NutWrench NutWrench is offline
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I use this freeware program to manage all my passwords.
Now, I only have to remember ONE password.

http://www.tranglos.com/free/oubliette.html
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  #38  
Old 01-23-2004, 06:59 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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Those dad-blang tokens!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat
Oh god I remember when they started using those! My husband was working for them (Digital Cities actually, at that time) and that thing was such a pain in the ass!
Hrmph... I've got two of the infernal things, and they're not interchangeable. Two-factor authentication is well and good (it takes something you know and something you physically have to come up with the "password") but the dang things are fragile!

I've lost count of how many of my users have killed their tokens by leaving them in hot cars, putting them through the laundry or dropping them.

btw - they don't work by satellite. They simply have an accurate internal clock and a unique "seed" value that's used to generate pseudo-random numbers. The token authentication server has the same seed values, and it's very important that the server has accurate time so its expectations of what number's on a token matches what's actually on the token. The server is adaptive - it'll accept the value before and after the current number it's expecting and token by token, keeps track of the variances so it can compensate for clock drift in the tokens. Works pretty well - in three years, I've only had to re-sync one token.
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  #39  
Old 01-24-2004, 06:33 PM
french frog french frog is offline
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I use 1 pwd for all non-lethal sites such as SDMB.

The other ones I made them up with a sentence that I know i'll remember.
Usually they ask for 8 characters so it's gonna be:

(examples not real pwd )
IamChris -- me
Mydogis7 -- my dog
81redvet -- my car
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  #40  
Old 01-24-2004, 07:08 PM
Q.N. Jones Q.N. Jones is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Small Clanger
eve - VenusProbe - Q.N. Jones thanks.

You have confirmed my theory that if you force people to keep changing passwords they degenerate to generic crap and will probably be written on post-its stuck under the keyboard. It happened here with the phone system.

BTW Q.N. all the SciFi stuff is bound to be in any cracking dictionary, but you knew that.
Sure, if someone knew what my theme was, they could figure out my passwords pretty easily. It's not SciFi.

And even if someone cracked my passwords, I don't care, really. There are no state secrets in my work e-mail. Just a lot of boring crap.
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  #41  
Old 01-25-2004, 01:38 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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My SDMB password is now the same as my e-mail and Allman password. On my list, I forgot to include the 7-digit code I have to dial on my phone when calling a non-university number.
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  #42  
Old 01-25-2004, 02:07 AM
Eo Echo Eo Echo is offline
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I've got what amounts to a universal password. I don't have enough brain cells left to remember multiple passwords.
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