What Is Your Password That Everyone Knows?

I was in a meeting today in Redmond when someone mentioned something about Passport and Live ID.  It reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago that I meant to write about, but forgot.

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting at one of my portfolio companies using the CEO’s computer when I did something that caused a password request box to appear on some random website that I had surfed to.  I turned to the CEO and asked “what’s your password that everyone knows.” He laughed and said it out loud, which I then used to log in successfully to the random website.  I then turned to the person next to the CEO and said “What’s your password that everyone knows?”  He looked shocked and said “I don’t have one.”  I responded with “c’mon – of course you do.”  “Nope, he replied smugly.”  I then asked if his girlfriend knew any of his passwords.  His smug look disappeared – he had figured out which of his passwords everyone knew.

Do you have a password that everyone knows?  In our wonderful world of security, online identity, online storage, and hundreds of theoretically unique and secure systems that each of us use every week, do you ever wonder how secure you really are?

Ironically – the CEO’s password that everyone knows happens to be the same as the password of his previous business partner – that everyone knows.  Time to change a few passwords.

  • Random

    Lemme guess, the password of the CEO and his old business partner was the name of the business they did together 🙂

  • “Time to change a few passwords.”

    Or time for a better way of IDentifying yourself and managing your information…. coming soon.

  • You make it sound like a bad thing that the CEO had a password that everybody knows. In certain situations this can be great.

    First, a few of the situations in which it is not. If you are the CEO of some multinational corporation, it probably isn’t great for you to have one password and have everyone know it. You certainly wouldn’t want to use that same password everywhere else. That’s what gets people into a lot of trouble. They use a simple password in one place and it is used all over.

    However, in startups this is great. Again, you don’t want everything in your life to be ruled by this one password, but it’s good for certain things. Password protected internal documents for instance are usually something that you don’t want outsiders to see, but are useful in everyday things for your company. If you spend time logging in for everyone, you’re wasting valuable time that could be used on something else.

    So, I would say have a tiered system of passwords. One that everyone knows for trivial things, one for your personal things, and one very secure one for things like banking and other things you wouldn’t want anyone to control.

    I do agree with you about changing passwords though. Changing them periodically is good.