The Final Word On Passwords

| Right | April 16, 2014

(I work in an internal technical support where we have just recently change password systems that have strict requirements for new passwords. A customer is having trouble with creating a new password. It should be noted that this customer speaks perfect English.)

Customer: “It won’t accept any of the new passwords I make up.”

Me: “Well. keep in mind that the passwords have to be at least eight characters long, and have letters and numbers.”

Customer: “What does that mean?”

Me: “It means that you have to have letters and number and all of the letters and numbers add up to eight. Like four letters and four numbers. Or six letters and two numbers. It can be more than eight characters too, so anything that adds up to eight or more.”

Customer: “No one can come up with that many letters… This is too hard.”

Me: “Um… Some people like to pick a word and then put some numbers at the end of the word. So long as you don’t use the word ‘password’ it will accept it.”

Customer: “A word? Like what? What words? Can’t you just make one up for me?”

Me: *feeling very uncomfortable and frustrated now but still wanting to help* “Well, what’s your favorite color?”

Customer: “Green! I love green.”

Me: “Okay… So, make your password ‘green’ and then add the year you were born to the end.”

Customer: “But… green isn’t a word.”

Me: “Wait… What?”

Customer: “You said pick a word.”

Me: “… Just type in ‘greenXXXX.”

Customer: “Oh that worked! Thank you! But you should be more clear with your directions next time.”

Me: “Yes, I’ll do that. I’m sorry for the confusion.”

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