IDs and EGOsurfing

Matt Morgan
Jan 30, 2014


"So the combination is... one, two, three, four, five? That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!"
The character Dark Helmet from 1987's Mel Brooks comedy Spaceballs is right. But, in many instances it isn't just what you choose as your password any more than how your information is stored. We've read or heard about the Target credit card leaks and even more recently the Norwalk SSN printing error. The rise of cloud computing on the private side of storage and the consolidation of private info publicly through the insecure Federal government's health insurance web portal are further exposures of yourself or your business to consider shoring up.
We are still in the midst of the NSA's policies needing reform (do you really need me to link you to anything on that?) and if that weren't enough, the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Dodd-Frank headed by Ohio's own Richard Cordray is now in the process of data mining over 90% of the country's financial transactions, credit scores, etc. 
None of this is with your consent, not that your garden-variety identity thief would ask for it anyway.
What can you do?
In some cases not much. However, there are various credit monitoring services your bank may offer or the credit bureaus themselves. LifeLock is another private service that is supposed to help keep your identity and accounts in check. Newer to the scene aren't just financial monitors but those of reputation. It is easy for information to become distorted or worse online. So "ORMs" (online reputation managers) have come into being providing, though with some mixed results but an option all the same.
If you really want the free, quick-and-dirty way of doing it simply employ a hobby that has been around since search engines became prevalent: ego surfing. Just type your name or your business's name in a search engine of your choice and see what comes up. Hopefully nothing bad, and in many cases it can be fun. Doing the same for myself I see that I am a retired professional wrestlertenor, author at, and Vice President, Corporate Product Marketing at Citrix.
However, fun aside, I caught that one of my game publishers had our address misspelled on their Store Locator page. This could possibly mislead customers or cause confusion. So it's a good catch and it will allow me to get up with them to correct the mistake. On a similar note, did you know that according to Wikipedia Sandusky, OH is currently run by:

• Mayor

Jason Andrew Danko

 • Vice-President

Greg Timothy Clemets

 • Commissioners[1]

Keith Grohe
Pervis D. Brown Jr.
Jeffrey Smith
Julie Farrar
C. Wesley Poole

Huh, whodathunk?
So, please do your best to monitor yourself, your family, and/or your business. It is difficult to have assurance from anyone even in the private sector to be completely able to help. You can hope that government will do its best, too, but to continue the quotes from Spaceballs...
President Skroob: 1-2-3-4-5?
President Skroob: That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage.




Trying to be ingenious or cute in creating a password is pointless; such attempts are usually done by computers, which have no sense of humor.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I have seen a great many sites now require you use a mix of capital letters, numbers, and/or symbols. Also, primarily relegated to online games, security tokens have been popular.

I'd certainly avoid having PINs that are your birthday or your name. For example, if you are Susan, don't make your PIN "SUZY". The ever-redundant and default "password" for your password is bad, too. Also, when possible, change your pairing code for BlueTooth devices since there are some common defaults there too.

Please watch out for scams where people will casually ask questions about you in order to get answers to security prompt answers. Broadcasting on Facebook you were born in Baltimore, for example, may be a way for people to get one step closer to accessing your bank account as places of birth are often a security question.


@ Mr. Morgan:

I've read where combining non-related items are difficult for algorithms to decipher.

Off the top of my head: basefoxstove.

Imagine a baseball cap wearing fox cooking on a stove (or sumpthin' like that).

Throw in caps and a few numbers as well.


I've seen both "The Terminator" and "The Matrix."

Based on those scenarios, I assume that we'll either end up working for them or they'll try to kill us.

They'll probably kill most of us and keep a few million just to help maintain them.

Meanwhile, I'll invest in Cyberdyne Systems. I hear that it's a stock on the move. :)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I think you will enjoy this, even as casual reading despite it being a roleplay system. There is a printed, colored book but they made the system open to read for free. It's called Eclipse Phase and it has a focus on "transhumanity". If you get around to perusing it let me know. Would love to talk about it.

Reference Site:

Free LiteHTML version of the Core Rulebook:


I'll bookmark 'em and peruse 'em later.


BTW: Approx. 90% of daily trading on the stock market is done using algorithms.

Figure that someday ‘they’ might all get together and crash our economy. :)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Well nuts to that (by that I actually mean that's kinda cool), I was calculating beta values and other investment formulae by hand in college! But yes, it is another chance for the thems to come in and mess everything up. They'll have to beat our current economic decision makers first. Right now it seems we are in a "if I can't have a stable economy nobody can" toy-breaking fit or "you can't fire me, I QUIT!".

From the Grave

What if LifeLock gets hacked...

From the Grave

Just googled myself~turns out I'm dead!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Reduce. Reuse. Reanimate.

Necromancy: Reducing dependence on the American funerary complex.