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May 31st, 2016

Too Secure [May. 31st, 2016|08:30 pm]
Exasperation of the day: We have a new benefits reporting system of some kind at work that I can't use because it is too secure. I honestly don't know what all it does, because I can't register to use it.

The problem is, I literally cannot answer enough security questions to finish the registration.

There are 18 questions to choose from. You need to pick 3.

9 of them flat-out do not apply. I have no children, so I can't use a question about my firstborn.

Of the remainder, there are 2 of them that I have a straightforward answer for. (Though I had to think a bit to recall what it was.)

There are 4 of them for which I could probably come up with an answer, but the odds of me coming up with the same answer several months from now are not good. What was the name of the street I lived on when I was a kid? Well, I remember the name of the street, but was it a Way or Circle? Or nothing at all? And I can't look it up to check, because it no longer exists!

And then there are the 3 questions that I do have an answer for, that I can recall fairly easily, but that I can't use because the correct answer is either too short or too long! Because, oh yes, all the answers must be between 6 and 20 characters long, letters and numbers only, no spaces.

Sure, I could abbreviate one of the too-long answers, or use some variant of "not applicable" for an N/A one, but it's got that same reliability problem: in six months, will I remember exactly how I answered the question with no good answer? Given my lousy track record at remembering how various other infrequently-used passwords are capitalized, I'd prefer not to have to rely on it.

So I think the next time I see the head of the computer security group in the lunchroom, I'm going to sit down next to him and ask him what their process is for password recovery when the user can't get their security questions right. 'Cos that's gonna be me if I ever forget mine.
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