Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stupid website tricks, part IV

As usual, the worst crap is generated by "Human Resources" departments. I logged onto my former employer's retirement website to check on the status. But wait! First I have to "register", because for "security reasons", I can no longer use my SSN as a logonid. Must be part of their commitiment to never reveal your SSN to anyone; unless of course, they pay for it.

Anyway, the tortuous registration process securely identified me by requesting a) part of my SSN, and b) my birthdate. The security enhancement must be subtle. Next screen says they couldn'tsecurely identify me after all! So they request my ZIP Code!, and now everything is secure.

Now begins the tortuous process of creating an acceptable logonid and password. The brilliant security minds here decided that security demands that logonids be 8-20 characters long, with no blanks or "special characters". Oddly, it says that passwords can be from 4-8 characters. So, guess what happens when I enter a five character password? An error message pops up saying "Passwords must be between 006 and 020 characters".

And for the programmer's convenience, I suppose, all the fields are cleared so I can just start over. It's always painfully obvious when the users aren't the customers.

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