We’re not even certain how we got onto the discussion of passwords but sometime, somewhere over the past week we ended up asking ourselves did Ali Baba really say “Open Sesame?”
It would certainly be an easier phrase to remember than some of the strange concoctions we’ve concocted to satisfy our computer password requirements. At He of We’s workplace, passwords must be at least 8 characters, no longer than 26 characters (really, 26) must contain at least two upper case characters, two lower case characters, one number and one symbol, must not contain any 4 letter portion of his user name or any 4 letter portion of his real name, must not have been used in the last 36 months, and must not spell out the company name.
Sometime last week somebody published some list somewhere about passwords. Yes, we can be more specific but we don’t want to. Partly because we aren’t sure who these people are. They are so and so research, such and such consultants, or somebody or other institute. They have to stay somewhat cloaked if not daggered because passwords are supposed to be secret. How does one publish an opinion of others’ secret information?
But we digress. This list included the worst passwords you could use and the number one worst password of them all, Password. Apologies to Allen Ludden. Other bad choices include 12345 etc, iloveyou, and letmein. Our favorite of the worst is letmein (let me in) because it sounds so plaintive and assumes computers have all the power.
Another point in favor of letmein is its historical significance. Literarily speaking that is. When Ali Baba followed the forty thieves to their lair he heard the leader say Open Sesame to open the door to their cave. Open Sesame did not make it on to the list of bad passwords so either nobody is using it or it’s not such a bad password. Maybe it’s ok because nobody understands it any better than He of We’s workplace password rules. Why sesame? Why not caraway? Or poppy seed? What about basil or parsley?
One explanation is that Sesame dialectically translates with different pronunciations to differentiate friend from foe and etymologically grew up to become the Hebrew word sisma, meaning password. (Or so we’re told. On a good day we can be confused with proper English used grammatically correct.) And everybody knows from the mysterious institute that the last word you want to use for a password is password.
Soon you’ll be able to use a picture for your password. Imagine those rules. No smirking, left profile only, colors present in nature during spring in Scandinavia. Come on now. Are we really hiding secrets that important in our files anyway? Open Oregano!
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?