Passwords – The Bane of Our Internet Existence

Passwords: you can’t live with them and you can’t access your stuff without them.

Peter and I have one particular word that we use a lot. It is a word that means something to us but would seem totally random to anyone else.

That worked all well and good until the stupid hackers got more vicious and ruined everything.

Now there are many sites for which a simple, quite memorable password isn’t enough.  Oh, certainly not! You must include letters, numbers, a character from the Greek alphabet and a lower case hieroglyphic.


And then there are those annoying “security questions”.

What is your favorite movie?

Depends what kind of mood I am in.

What was the name of your first grade teacher?

Seriously?! I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

What is your mother’s maiden name?

Hold on a minute…I know better than to share that information in such a willy-nilly, loosey-goosey manner!

Then it occurred to me. I don’t have to enter the correct information, only something that I can remember when I inevitably forget my password and have to unlock the gates of “The Security Question Virtual Barbed Wire Fence”.

barbed wire

barbed wire protecting the all important cloud

I think from now on I am going to answer all security questions with:

Miss Fussbudget

First grade teacher? Miss Fussbudget.

Favorite movie? Miss Fussbudget. (A little known, cult movie that went straight to Lifetime.)

Mother’s maiden name? Miss Fussbudget. HA! That will fool those hackers and identity thieves.

The really ridiculous thing is that, since I can’t possibly remember every iteration of passwords I use, I end up writing them all down. Real secure, eh?

And don’t tell anyone, but I keep a list of passwords in my notes app on my iPhone.

I know there are password keeper apps but a friend of mine uses one of those and it requires a crazy password configuration that must be changed once a week! I would lock myself out in under 30 seconds, guaranteed.

Recently I read a fascinating article on the LA Times’ website. (In my opinion the best newspaper website there is – packed with info and very easy to navigate. But I digress…)

Scientists have developed a password system called Facelock that involves correctly identifying four different photos of someone with whom you are familiar – the theory being that we can recognize different images of someone we know but not those of a stranger.

(Seriously, read the article. No big surprise, but the reporter does a much better job of explaining it than I can.)

For their “familiar face”, participants were asked to come up with a few “Z-list celebrities” who would be recognizable to themselves but not to everybody. For instance if you were a classical music buff, you might choose a favorite violinist.

My “Z-list celebrity” would no doubt be a Real Housewife.

That’s right. Vicki or Ramona could be the gatekeeper to all my personal information.  Seems about right.

Until Facelock becomes available, though, I might adopt the strategy of the guy featured in this story on the Today Show.

A combination of an ugly break-up and the need to change his on-the-job password every 30 days, made him decide to turn the password into a mantra of sorts. An affirmation that he was forced to write dozens of times per day.

[email protected]

Maybe it is possible to make your password both memorable AND helpful.  Maybe we can stop thinking about passwords as technological pains in the tukus and start thinking of them as friends who encourage us to reach our goals.

So let’s see, what might I change my password to? A call to action for myself.




[email protected]

Or maybe


I haven’t settled on a password just yet but for my security questions it’s Miss Fussbudget all the way.

Have you tried the “mantra” approach to passwords? Do you have special tricks to remember your passwords? Know any hackers that I can kick in the shins for making this so difficult for all of us?

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  1. Oh – I had the same problem with hackers figuring out my tried and true password!!!
    I love the idea for the security question!!!
    I do use a password app – but you don’t ever change the 4 digit password so I’m safe – I learned the hard way that when you switch phones and they switch everything over the app will go but not the info in it – oops!!!!
    Kim recently posted…Side-to-Side (7/6-7/12)My Profile

  2. Passwords are so frustrating to me, especially the ones who make you change you password constantly and then don’t let you use one you’ve used before. I need to find a better system for storing them!

  3. OY! I hate passwords!

    I also have a basic one I use, and add unique numbers and characters for different sites. I don’t change most of them until they tell me there’s been a security breach and I have to. My work password DOES require changing on a regular basis-for almost a year I thwarted the system by adding the next consecutive number at the end until it finally wised up and made me do a complete reset.

    (BTW, I figured out a couple of years ago telephone numbers when I was a kid were a combination of letters and numbers. They make great passwords)
    Kathy G recently posted…What’s For DinnerMy Profile

  4. katie clooney says:

    Mo… so funny and so true. I will not admit or deny ethat JILLZARIN could have been a password of mine at one time. Funny story… Sista owns her own business and her hub helps her out a lot. He was in charge of setting up her password for something. Her new asst. needed to use it so Sista called hub. When she asked she was speechless. She said he was so frustrated with the process he made F*** YOU the pw. Poor sista had to tell her starry eyed, wet behind the ears asst. what the password was. BIL never was asked again to set up the password!! Have a great weekend!

  5. The bane of our existence is right, Mo. There are so many awesome aspects (and I’m using awesome literally here) to technology – but then there’s that OTHER side – like locks on our doors and security systems on our homes. Yin and Yang….and thanks for the tips – beyond just the security codes – the LA Times nod.
    Barbara recently posted…Splash into TurquoiseMy Profile

  6. Oh, I really like that idea of using a mantra for a password. And I would be so happy if that z list celebrity password thing came out. Remembering those 10,000 passwords is really just a pain!
    Bev recently posted…Friday Finds: The Biking EditionMy Profile

  7. For my work password, I usually use some kind of mantra like “R3sp3ct!” or “S3r3n1ty”. It is a good way to start the day, although some days using “&@$)*%” is more in line with how I feel.

  8. This made me laugh – and it’s so true! I have a couple logins for work that require frequent password changes, and sometimes I get so frustrated with them, that my new passwords are more like a rant (or swear) than a mantra – which, of course, is so convoluted that I have to write it down, anyway. I like the idea of Miss Fussbudget – a lot – and I think I’ll try the mantra thing, it seems much more positive than what I’m currently doing!
    Karen recently posted…lazy saturdaysMy Profile

  9. My work makes me not only have crazy passwords, but they also make me change the ones on my laptop and phone regularly. It’s so confusing!

  10. The mantra idea is brilliant. Loving this, now what will mine be.
    MMMMMM!!!!!!!! a bit like your favourite movie, depends on what day it is.
    Maybe not a mantra, what is a constant???
    Oh dear I could be a while.
    Karen main recently posted…Why being vulnerable is an ingredient to living fabulouslyMy Profile

  11. Ugh! Yes! Passwords. The bane of my existence. Just when I get a good password that I can finally remember, then they make me change it. And of course, they say you should have a different password for every site, and it shouldn’t actually be a word but a combination of random letters and numbers. Please. I usually can’t remember what I had for breakfast each morning. And you expect me to remember that on Amazon I use FfjH15Kw as a password, but my email is lm6Npw34? Not. Gonna. Happen.
    Kristen recently posted…The Incredible ‘Contusionist’ WomanMy Profile

  12. I usually forget mine and have to have it emailed to me. But I started a list of all my blogging related passwords in a journal. If someone finds it and wants to hijack my blog, go for it. 1d0nt(ar3 {That was “I don’t care” written in super secret password form}
    Dana recently posted…Summertime and the reading is easyMy Profile

  13. Oh my god Mo this is so topical for me right now. Cannot stress to you how topical this is! I had to change every single password when my car window was smashed and my phone was stolen. It took me a good two hours. Messed up my webmail account too. I can receive now but can’t send … Sorry. Back to the password issue. I have recorded all of my upteen new passwords in my weensy very important journal. God help me if I lose said journal. I don’t know what I’d do – can’t face having to change ’em all again.
    Also – my tech savvy pal pointed out to me that yes you don’t have to answer all those security questions honestly. Who knew. I love your idea of Miss Fussbudget. Brilliant.
    After reading this – I have to thank you for making me realise I am not alone …
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…We Need Dish SoapMy Profile

    • As I mentioned my passwords are recorded in a notes app on my phone. These notes get emailed to me every time I make a change. I have a Word document with all of my blog related passwords that I email to myself in case my computer crashes and I loose my documents. So, now all my passwords are available to me and hackers in several formats, including the cloud. Very secure, eh? What a pain in the neck to have to change all your passwords after getting your phone stolen!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Passwords – The Bane of Our Internet ExistenceMy Profile

  14. Funny – but frustrating too. I have different passwords for different emails and I can never remember which one to use. My son uses a pattern on the keyboard, and I thought that was pretty clever, until I read that it was also easy to hack.
    Leslie Anne recently posted…I snuck into Ryan Gainey’s gardenMy Profile

  15. And you always have to worry about being locked out if you try the wrong password too many times! I like the idea of a pattern on the keyboard. Kind of like a choreographed dance aross the keys! Too bad it is easy to hack…
    Mo Lux recently posted…Passwords – The Bane of Our Internet ExistenceMy Profile

  16. this one’s the best! F1ndMor3Wine
    catherine gacad recently posted…At Your Fingertips: Services that Make Life EasierMy Profile

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