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"Rude password - login denied": the AT&T April Fool that wasn't


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"Rude password - login denied": the AT&T April Fool that wasn't

by Paul Ducklin on April 1, 2013

rude-password-153.png?w=252&h=189

Earlier today, fellow Naked Security writer Graham Cluley pointed me at a fantastic April Fool's story.

AT&T, the tall tale told, had introduced a policy that prohibited passwords that "contain obscene language."

There was even a handy screenshot to add some vernal veracity (or autumnal authenticity in the Southern Hemisphere):

att-limits-500.png?w=773&h=462

"Very droll," I thought.

After all, it surely wasn't true, since:

  • How would they tell? (Computers aren't yet that smart at understanding the nuances of human language.)
  • Why would they care? (Passwords aren't for other people to know.)
  • Who would ever see it? (Passwords aren't stored in plaintext. They're salted and hashed.)

In short, unless a human, fluent in dozens of languages, were to review your choice, there wouldn't be much hope of reliably and usefully detecting a password couched in obscene terms. (More...)

Read the complete story at: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/04/01/rude-password-login-denied-the-att-april-fool-that-wasnt/

Steve

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