Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What's your password?

Yes I accept that I am not good at remembering numbers, names and passwords!

When I started using the mailing systems my passwords were as simple as abc123, helloworld, ankushsamant, iamankush and the likes. But the happy days didn’t last long. Soon I was introduced to the world of credit cards and debit cards. I tried my best to simplify this world too by making my passwords (2222, 1111, 1122, 2908 (My birth date), 1983 (My birth year) ) easier for me to remember. And once again, the quote, “And then they lived happily ever after!” failed miserably!

RBI came up with more circulars. Companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail came up with stricter password setting rules. Banks came up with their own security measures……BTW the banks’ login name itself is no better than a password, it is a whole 9 digit awkward number!

I still remember the good old password setting rules:
1.       Password should be between 6 to 12 characters
2.       Password should not contain any  special character.

The rules have now changed to something which can give nightmares:
  1. It should not contain your name.
  2. It should not contain a common dictionary word.
  3. It should contain one or more numbers.
  4. It should have both upper and lower case characters.
  5. It should be over 8 characters long.
  6. It must be different from your old passwords.

These seem to be so much easier on me when I look at the password policy of my bank:
  1. The Passwords are case sensitive i.e. Upper Case e.g. PASSWORD123 is differentiated from Lower Case e.g. password123.
  2. Your Password should be alphanumeric i.e. should contain both digits and alphabets.
  3. The Password should contain a minimum of 6 characters and a maximum of 28 characters.
  4. Spaces are not allowed in the Password.
  5. Your new Password cannot be the same as the existing Password.
  6. Only the following special characters !, @, #, $, %, (, &, *, ., ), +, =, ? are accepted as part of the Password.
  7. All characters in the Customer Id should not be present in your Password e.g. If your Customer Id is 000011120, the Password abcd012 is not a valid Password.

By the time I kept a password, noted it down in my diary and remembered it, the red alert message slapped me hard. The season changed. The sun set down. The password expiry policy came up!

Then I came up with a clever idea of keeping the same password in a season for every login. But, if only the life would have been so simple!

Banks started asking 2 passwords, the login password and the transaction password!  If I was lucky enough to remember both the passwords then I was asked for a TPIN every time I called up for an assistance on phone!

Now, I have a diary full of passwords….my transaction passwords, my login passwords, my email passwords, my social networking passwords, my TPINS…….my old passwords, my new passwords……..

I just hope my friends, my family, my girl… do not start asking for a password….

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