The UCL mail password system is frigid and dystopian

It makes a mockery of the human spirit


What’s memorable? A first kiss. A happy moment with close friends. The way she flicks that hair of hers. The majestic sweep of the tuscan countryside. Anything that comes out of Darth Vader’s mouth. The Adidas logo. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, February 2004. 9/11.

What about u3Iee4Xx1? Is that an L or an I? I’ve already forgotten. Whoever penned that is no Carole King.

Welcome to the state of the UCL user ID password system. A system which requires you to complement an already complex userid (I’m zcqabmu, hit me up x) with an exponentially more complex password. This capricious, finicky system seems to reject more arbitrary letter combinations than conceivably possible. “Requires at least one upper case letter!” “Too many upper case letters!” “Too profound!” “Not sexy enough!”

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A robot’s Christmas list

It’s a world entirely devoid of the moist-eyed nostalgia of days gone by. Days when a password meant something, you know? Before the passion of life was crudely tossed aside to make way for unloveable sequences of numbers. This is Henry Hoover vs the Vax Air Reach U90-MA-Re Upright Vacuum all over again, an endless battle between joy and efficiency.

Remember when a password not only did, but had to mean something? “Choose the name of a family pet”, Bebo would suggest. “Choose something you won’t forget”. Of course, we weren’t morons about it. An upper case letter here, a number there, that’d do the trick and keep away those pesky hackers, intent on maliciously deleting all of our hard mined mythril on Runescape.

But then the hackers got good. As they upgraded from their bedrooms to their basements, and their bacne turned into hairy bacne, they developed their skills enough to eventually hack into the Pentagon, surpassing even Blofeld’s wildest dreams. These infrared bathers, these subterranean mole cyber princes, were now the predators for which your memorable, meaningful passwords (and vulnerable teenage girls on Craigslist) were the prey.

And of course, nothing is more precious than your UCL account. God knows the fear of drunk-emailing the admissions tutor is high enough, without the added fear of a trespasser. What if they read MY weekly SELCS newsletter? It’s only for language students. They’ll know about the coming IT Drop-in Session for new A&H & SHS Students: we can’t have that.

It's frustrating

It really rubs me up the wrong way

Thus, security is tight. And to add insult to injury, we have to change the damn thing every few months. Just when xXi<2bm3 had finally found a place in my heart, I was told I had to dump him to make way for an unwelcome stranger. Another hateful code to replace the last.

But I guess it’s better than making your password “password”.