Friday, December 7, 2012

Cyberathazagoraphobia - fear of forgetting your password?

On November 26th Doug Barney blogged at that:

“Forgetting a password is a fear that ranks right up with spiders, public speaking and meeting future in-laws. That's why so many choose such weak passwords -- weak passwords are easy to remember.”

How big of a problem are weak passwords? This year Kaspersky Labs had a worldwide survey done that included asking over 11,000 users what they had used as passwords. Their disconcerting results (from page 9 of the report) are shown above. (Click to see a larger, clearer version). 17% had used their birthday, 10% had used their phone number or their middle name, 9% had used their pet’s name, 8% had used “123456” or something similar, and 5% had just used “Password”. There were sizable regional differences in the percentages that used various weak passwords - 26% in Asia and the Pacific had used their birthday.

I didn’t find a specific Latin or Greek compound word for fear of forgetting your password. The Phobia List had cyberphobia for fear of computers, and athazagoraphobia for fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting. So, I put them together to create the very silly Cyberathazagoraphobia.  

Using a lazy default like “Password” isn’t new behavior. In an essay titled Safecracker Meets Safecracker his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, physicist Richard P. Feynman described meeting a locksmith at Los Alamos in 1945 who had just opened the safe in a captain’s office:

“....I knew that the locks come from the factory set at 25-0-25 or 50-25-50, so I thought. ‘Who knows; maybe the guy didn’t bother to change the combination,‘ and the second one worked.

....I (Feynman) went from office to office in my building, trying those two factory combinations, and I opened about one safe in five.” 

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