The Screaming You Hear Is Me
by Gina Valley
Do you hear screaming?
I have a random number generator built into my computer. When he put it in my IT guy asked if I knew what it was for.
“A random number generator? For filling out my taxes?” I guessed.
He explained that the random number generator was to aid in my fight for cyber security. I said that I think I have an ointment that treats that. He gave me another stare of death.
Computer security is serious business. I know this because he told me, “Computer security is serious business.” (I wonder if he ever reads this? If so, I’m so gonna get the stare of death again on Monday!). He went on to explain that the random number generator would spit out random numbers which my computer would then use to decide what passwords should be and when to change them.
I suggested that it would be a good idea to change them at the end of every quarter. I was wrong. That is NOT a good idea. I know this because my IT guy said, “That is not a good idea.” And then, looked very serious.
I, fool that I am asked why that is not a good idea.
My IT guy said, “You can’t change them at the end of any quarter. It’s too predictable to change them on days like that. Hackers will know when the passwords they have don’t work anymore.”
Now, call me crazy, but won’t they pretty much be able to figure that out anyway no matter when I change the passwords? I’m no hacking expert, but won’t they know it doesn’t work when they try it and it doesn’t work?
So, as I understand it, my random number generator is constantly generating random numbers at random times. When it generates a particular random number, or when it just happens to be an especially bad day for it for me, it resets all of my passwords to new random “words,” which are composed of a string of random letters, numbers, and symbols of random length.
It’s a technological miracle. It’s amazing. It’s awesome, if by awesome you mean “makes you want to die because you have to relearn every password to even be able to pin that cool looking chocolate, chocolate cake onto your ‘If Calories Didn’t Matter ‘ Pinterest board” (BTW – I have the coolest chocolate, chocolate cake on my “If Calories Didn’t Matter” Pinterest board. Now that I think about it, chocolate, chocolate cake sounds pretty good right now. Hmmm).
Anyway – every time it resets all my passwords it makes me think I have suffered a case of instant dementia or amnesia or whatever it’s called when your brain instantly ceases up and refuses to process even one more thing.
And, I’m not allowed to write them down. That would undermine the integrity of the whole process. I know this because my IT guy told me, and continues to tell me every blasted time he sees me with anything resembling a writing instrument in my hand, “You must not write them down! It undermines the integrity of the whole process if you write them down. And, no iPhone-ing it either!”
So, every so often, after a random amount of time has passed since the last time, you will hear me screaming because just as I finally got them all memorized and I am invariably working on a deadline, all of my passwords will change. Randomly.
So I scream. Randomly.
I have to scream. I can’t cry. My IT guy said, “No liquids by the computer!”
At least this time my IT guy is screaming, too, because the computer randomly selected today to select new random passwords. And, today is the last day of the quarter!
Laugh Out Loud!
Are you screaming, too? How do you remember your passwords? I look forward to hearing all about it! Shoot me a comment and share the scream!