Guest blog - Passwords and swearwords

by Rhodri Buttrick on 5 October 2009

Thanks to the Internet, passwords are everywhere, the odds are if you were to try and write down a list of online accounts which you have to enter a password for, you would not be able to remember them all!

Having finished the online enrolment process for University, I was told in a letter to logon to the University website to choose my modules for my course. Logging onto the University website itself was a problem. I find remembering passwords and user names difficult enough at the best of times, however, the University has taken this to a new level by assigning cryptic usernames consisting of what I perceive to be a random jumble of letters!

To make things even more interesting, my password is not allowed to be a word within the English dictionary! It also has to be nine characters and a number which is difficult considering I only have a four digit memory span – I remember one week spending ages shopping for a padlock with only three tumblers. The University website is probably more secure than the Ministry of Defence!

It's not just Universities which make passwords unfriendly for dyslexics. Online shops and banking systems are mind blowing. They are probably designed by the same people who write those impossible puzzles in the back of newspapers, the ones people pretend to know how to do on the train!

Recently, while trying to buy a CD online, a message from my credit card company popped-up asking for the 1st, 3rd and 7th letter in my password. This is all done in the name of security, but in order to do this I have to write my password down. It's fine if I'm at home but what if I'm using a public computer, write down my password on a scrap of paper and accidentally leave it there? Surely this cannot be in the best interests of security.

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