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These Questions Three

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  KEEPER:      Stop!  What is your name?
  GALAHAD:     Sir Galahad of Camelot.
  KEEPER:      What is your quest?
  GALAHAD:     I seek the Holy Grail.
  KEEPER:      What is your favorite color?
  GALAHAD:     Blue.  No yel--  Auuuuuuuugh!

One of these days a year or two from now, maybe I can come back and fill in some of the details on this one. Not today, not while I remain where I am. Even the hint of a whisper I give in this post is perhaps more than I should be saying out loud.

Thing is, one of my crucial passwords was set to expire next week. One I’ve not been forced to reset for quite some time, and it doesn’t take all that much time for me to forget things these days. And if I wrote down even the cryptographic reminders I scatter around in places as innocuous as those hints that Mr. Jones left himself in Men in Black II, those password hints have deteriorated as well.

Which left me to the mercies of three questions the system has its users set up for a back door key, in the event of forgetting one’s password. Three incorrect guesses to those three questions, and Auuuuuuuugh!—off the Bridge of Death the quest-seeker would be tossed, never the other side to see. Trouble is, in my case the answers to these three questions are so glaringly obvious, that anyone with a passing knowledge of me would know the “normal” answers.

Fine, can’t expect much security going that route. So when I set up my back door key, I rejected the normal answer for each of the three questions. Problem there being that anyone who knows me at all would guess I would not use the obvious responses, but that if I then wished responses that would then be so uniquely “me,” then yes, to each of the three questions there was an obvious non-normal response.

Fine again, very little additional security going with that. So add a linear transformation or two, some complex inversion, a bit of rhyme and a pun or two, and I wind up with something that anyone who knows me as well as Suzi would smile at if told what the correct response is, but that nobody – not even she – would ever be able to guess, not even with three million billion trillion guesses. Yet in theory I was supposed to have remembered those twisted responses myself.

Ummmmm. Not.

Requiring a rescue from IT. They must be getting tired of me by now, bad as my memory has been the past three years. “Blue. No yel– Auuuuuuuugh! . . .”

bumper sticker [] - deskjob

Written by macheide

10 October 2014 at 8:30 pm

Posted in deskjob

Tagged with , ,


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