An open letter to Grant Shapps.
About this ‘haxx0rs ate my YouTube password thing‘…
The thing is, I was discussing this on-line with a group of techs, last night – about a dozen of us with a combined experience in systems and network administration of a couple of hundred years or so – and the thing is… well, we just don’t buy your excuse.
Nothing personal, you understand. We just don’t.
What I mean here is that, on the face of it, the suggestion that a malicious political opponent might have guessed, or maybe even brute-force cracked, the password on your YouTube account sounds plausible enough on paper, good enough, even, to give you the benefit of the doubt…
…but then you had to go and spoil things by asserting that the password on the account ‘1234’.
Sorry? ‘1234’? Nah, you’ve ruined it.
Don’t get wrong here. We haven’t just dismissed your story out of hand. We really did give it plenty of thought… but try as we might and with all those long years of experience of dealing with dumbass end users to draw on, none of us could recall a single occasion on which even the most moronic end users we’ve ever dealt with were idiotic enough to choose ‘1234’ as their account password.
Seriously Grant – and this is no mean achievement, by the way – you’ve actually managed to put up an excuse that simply too dumb to be believable, even by a group of techs with such extensive experience of the near inexhaustible capacity of end users to find new ways of doing complete dumb thing.
And trust me, here, we’re not short on dumb password horror stories, if fact we’ve seen pretty much everything that end users can throw at us; middle names, kids’ names, birthdays, names of their favourite pop star, actor/actress or sportsman/woman. To be honest, we actually had quite a good time swapping stories and bitching about users – it’s a techie thing. Like the one about the departmental manager who had to change his password every month – so he religiously used the name of current month. Or the one about the Senior IT manager who, as a joke, set the master password on a brand new IBM mini-computer to ‘TWAT’ no soon as he’d got it out the box and plugged in… only then to read the set-manual and discover that system took the first use master password enter and burned it permanently onto a chip as the system’s master password for life – sadly the purveyor of this particular gem of a story left the company before the system was replaced and sold on and, as a result, missed out the entertainment value of seeing the guy who set the password trying to explain it to the people buying the system.
You get the picture here? If its dumb and someone, especially an end user, can do it then, between us, we’ve seen it… and yet not one of us could recall a single instance in which anyone had ever voluntarily chosen to set an account password to ‘1234’, let alone leave such a dumb password unchanged for nine months.
Hopefully, by now, you’ll understand why your explanation of how your YouTube account has been met with widespread hoots of derision. If you’d have said that your password was something dumb but plausible, say ‘cameron,’ or ‘cchq’ for example, then you might have got off with the benefit of the doubt. You might have even got away with passing the buck on to an over-enthusiastic scutter in your constituency office and been more widely believed. But what you’re asking people to swallow here goes beyond dumb and sets a new low in the annals of end user stupidity and ID10T errors and its that that makes your ‘haxx0rz’ story just that bit too implausible to believe.
Not even a Tory MP could be dumb enough to use ‘1234’ as a password – could they?