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Password or PIN

March 4, 2010
In this modern world, almost everything requires some kind of password or PIN.

Let’s start by listing all the things that has PIN or password:

  1. Our ATM cards naturally needs one.  I am maintaining (actively) two US bank accounts and 3 Singaporean bank accounts.  Those from Singapore each has a Secure Device for internet access.  My credit cards always ask me if I want a PIN so that I may withdraw money from my account if I need them.  I always reject that.
  2. My telephones — cell phone and landline — all require that I have a four-digit PIN.  So we have in the US, 3 prepaid cards, one landline and one MagicJack (phone on internet). We will also have two prepaid SIM cards for Canada and a few in Singapore.  Fortunately, the Singapore SIM cards does not require any PIN.  And we usually lost the SIM cards for Singapore and so we’ll just buy new ones.  I think we’re going to cancel the landline soon.  So all our phones will go with us when we travel.  I forgot to mention that each SIM card has a web access that requires a separate password.
  3. I maintain three main internet emails (including this Windows Live).  One Penn State email.  Other emails, I never check, I still log on everytime there is a warning about inactivity.
  4. I have blog pages on Multiply, Blogspot and this one.  Facebook is an account like a blog page too.  My wife has many more and that’s on Facebook alone.  And she has Flickr and other photo maintainng sites.
  5. Being a junky on forums and FAQs, I joined everything from Math/ Physics forums to education forums.  Each one requires that I have a username and a password.
  6. I have SingPass and access to my other Singaporean e-services.
  7. I have an Amazon account.  An eBay account and a craiglist account.
  8. Everything from Mortgage to health insurance, I created a Web access so I am paperless.
  9. Every year, I file my US tax with three different online company and checked which ones give me the most refund.  And each online tax company require a password.
  10. My Penn State access has a password.  And it requires changing every year or so.  Being an web author for the Math department, I’m required to maintain a separate password for the ADM access.  And the security standard for password is so high, you can’t just invent a word and a few digits as password.  A password must contain letters, digits and special characters and it must be significantly "different" from the previous password if I’m changing it (and we’re required to change every year or so).  There is an indicator on the right telling you how secured your password is as you type in.  If for some reason, the machine "thinks" it’s not secured enough, it will reject it and give you a reason.

The list goes on.  Granted, if I forgot the passwords, I’ll still be able to get them to reset it.  But I actually write everything on one single file.  Yes, there is one file on my computer (and it’s duplicated on me.com and Google Document) that has all the passwords.  But what if someone have access to this file?  Wouldn’t it be very dangerous?  Yes, it will be.  So I encode this file.  No, not any computer crytography and encoding.  No RSA or PGP.  It’s a file written in 4 or five languages that includes (but is not restricted) to Singlish, Indonesian, Malay, Japanese (hiragana, katakana and romanji), Chinese (Zhuyin, Pinyin), hokkien and my idiosycracies.  For example, can you guess what
               Cat dog sembilan go ji come go 五花 Foto イフク bochap roku
is?  Let me give you some hint, dog actually means "9".  If you could guess everything then you can crack my PIN file.

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2 Comments
  1. Vicky permalink

    So complicated. Just set all your pin and password to one.

  2. Nabueh permalink

    So when I share my password with non-essential account (like you access my Amazon account), the person can access to all my other accounts? So my wife can change my student\’s grade and you can access all my emails and buy things through my Paypal and change my mortgage terms in CitiMortgage account? That\’s too dangerous. Besides, my Penn State requires that I change my password on a regular basis. I cannot change the password of ALL my other accounts. That would take me too LONG!

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