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Panic Blamed On Password Problem

Panic Blamed On Password Problem

Poor David Ige.

One minute he’s the governor of paradise. The next he’s the poster boy for forgotten passwords.

Ige’s quickly becoming a national punchline: The 61-year-old guy who failed to mollify more than a million people because his memory is bad.

The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Slate and other news outlets have been chiding the politician since Monday.

Yep, Ige’s the governor of Hawaii who couldn’t calm his hysterical people after a false ballistic missile alarm was sounded on Saturday morning, January 13.

I’ll let CNN tell you why:

When Hawaii pushed out a ballistic missile alert earlier this month, Gov. David Ige knew within two minutes it was a false alarm. But he couldn't hop on Twitter and tell everybody - because he didn't know his password.

“I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account login and passwords," Ige told reporters Monday after giving his State of the State address. "I will be putting that on my phone."

Hmmm. Why is it the job of the governor to reassure his panicked people via Twitter? Surely the same clown at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency who sent this insane text message to virtually everyone in the state: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” should have been able to send a second text immediately:


I wonder how many hyperventilating Hawaiians were hiding under their tables and glued to the governor’s Twitter feed to find out if World War III was underway. Is that where you'd go for emergency information? Me neither.

Frankly, I find Ige's candor endearing. Everyone has a plethora of passwords. The Guv's not the only one who doesn't have them all committed to memory.

Quick, what's your Facebook password? 

Chances are you don’t know your Twitter password, either. I can find mine only after consulting my low-tech password guide.

Like many of you, I have a dizzying collection of passwords. 

Passwords for my credit cards, bank account, credit union, natural gas bill, electric bill, water bill, cable bill, cell phone bill, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the exterminator, car and house insurance, patient portal at my doctor’s office, Amazon, Apple ID, YouTube, Vimeo, online newspaper subscriptions, PayPal, Ole Miss season tickets, my website hosting company, Yahoo email, Google email, Cox email, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Delta SkyMiles, Alaska Air Mileage, Hilton Honors and the 247 Sports football recruiting website.

No two passwords are the same. And I change them all the time, as a precaution against fraud. OK, and because I frequently forget them and have to make new ones.

How to keep track?

There are apps that claim to keep your passwords safe. But I don’t trust them. I worry that hackers could get in and quickly grab the keys to my bank accounts, emails and everything else.

Not taking that chance.

My personal password retention method is both faulty and primitive. Yet it's impossible to hack.

I keep lists of passwords in two places. One is on paper. The other is digital. Unfortunately, I rarely remember to update both lists, so they frequently don't match.

For an added layer of security, each password is recorded in a sloppy shorthand that I invented during years of note taking as a newspaper reporter. 

I've tried to explain my unique system to members of my family but they shrug and say it makes no sense.

So, in the event of my untimely death no one in my house will be able to crack the code to pay the bills, access our checking account or to find out the name of that high school linebacker Ole Miss coaches are recruiting. 

My only hope is that at least one of the famed World War II code breakers will still be around to decipher the passwords.

Pity they weren't in Hawaii earlier this month to give David Ige a hand with his.



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