The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

Now That’s a Complicated Password

Sometimes we relinquish the blogging duties to different team members.  The following piece was brought to the table by our very own COO. It may be short, but I guarantee it’ll take a lot longer to read than you might think. In the comments below feel free to post up your attempt at this password puzzle. Texas AG, maybe you should simplify this.


“I recently had the misfortune of having to update my password on the Attorney General of Texas website.  Now while I’m a big fan of securing personal information on the Web, this particular website has taken this to a whole new level.  The rules read more like an SAT question.  Go ahead, take a read.  My guess is that you don’t make it through the first five rules before your brain starts to hurt.   ***********************PASSWORD RULES***************************** 1. The password must be exactly 8 characters long. 2. It must contain at least one letter, one number, and one special character. 3. The only special characters allowed are @ # $. 4. A special character must not be located in the first or last positions. 5. Two of the same character sitting next to each other are considered to be a set. No sets are allowed. 6. Avoid using names, such as your name, user ID, or the name of your company or employer. 7. Other words that cannot be used are Texas, child, and the months of the year. 8. A new password cannot be too similar to the previous password. a. Example: previous password – abc#1234, acceptable new password – acb$1243 b. Characters in the first, second, and third positions cannot be identical. (abc*****) c. Characters in the second, third, and fourth positions cannot be identical. (*bc#****) d. Characters in the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions cannot be identical. (*****234) 9. A password can be changed voluntarily (no Help Desk assistance needed) once in a 15-day period. If needed, the Help Desk can reset the password at any time. 10. The previous 8 passwords cannot be reused ***************************************************************************”


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