Thursday, August 29, 2019

Odd Thoughts Today

I took a work training about cybersecurity, and they spoke about double authorisations and the security questions that are asked, like your mother's maiden name.  They suggested that we not choose questions that someone could find out about us by researching us, which makes sense, as it is possible to find out quite a lot these days.  They suggested lying about the answers to the question.

That had never occurred to me. For people with a bit of OCD, claiming that my first car was of one sort when it actually was another just seemed wrong.  Not so much dishonest, but the wrong answer. It would be like getting the capital of Azerbaijan wrong. There is a joke that antisocials and other liars should tell as much of the truth as possible, because it would be hard to remember what lies you told to which people.  I can see the point of that.  I would forget that I had made up an answer and be angry at my security answer not working.


Someone at Maggie's used the concept of "Reverse Cassandra," a person destined to be always believed but never right, tying it in to a particular issue.  I think it was climate change, but I immediately thought it could apply to many issues. I don't mean things like astrology, which has many people who believe "there is something to it," but only a few who believe fervently. There are political issues that a solid group of people believe fervently, despite lack of evidence.  More to the point, there are people who are believed no matter what they say.


There is rancor within parties in political debates now, and I am contrasting this to 2004.  Howard Dean was winning, but most Democrats felt he could not win the national and needed to be taken out.  It seemed easy enough, as he had some vulnerabilities, but some other candidate needed to go after him, and in that climate, they all believed it was not important to be seen as "going negative." Someone was going to have to take one for the team and destroy his own candidacy by going after Dean.  Eventually, Dick Gephardt made the sacrifice.  Dean went down, but so did he. Was 2004 unusual, or is our own era unusual?  Has their been a consistent deterioration over time, or has there always been an ebb and flow?  I am speaking only of arguments within parties, not of their comments about the other parties.

By the way, the myth has not died that Howard Dean's scream that year cost him a credible candidacy by showing him as weird or unstable.  The yell was in fact after the Iowa Caucases in which he had just been badly beaten after looking solid a month before.  He was trying to rally the troops with a sort of false energy, but only succeeded in looking ridiculous. The scream was an effect, not a cause; the cart, not the horse.


Deevs said...

Regarding security questions, I had the idea to use a specific phrase for every answer. I believe I was foiled because the answers to the two security questions has to be unique.

I like the idea of lying, though. Maybe I'll write down a list of common security questions and fabricate some answers.

J Melcher said...

I remember reading of an approach, by a person I thought very OCD, but clever.
The security prompt would be things like: "What was your mother's maiden name?" or "Your first car was what color?" and he would fill in the blanks with the first letters of the words of the prompt:
"Wwymmn" and "Yfcwwc" etc.

Which worked well until the security question was re-phrased: "What color was your first car?" and "Tell me your mother's last name at birth" ...

You have heard the joke about the person instructed to create a password with at least eight characters with one capital who chose "DonaldDaisyMickyMinnieHueyLouieDeweyGoofySacramento" ?

james said...

"Always believed but never right." The first place I'd look for candidates is newspaper/TV editorialists. They have to crank out opinions come rain or shine, , and have the position of authority to be believed.

"the people who live there have to give an opinion once a week or once a day, or else Mr. Mammon would soon cut off their food."

"Newspapers pay the penalty of the blind idolatry of speed. They go so fast that they never notice anything; and they have to make up their minds so quickly that they never make them up at all."

Donna B. said...

I have a list of questions and answers for security questions. It's all lies and it's handwritten. For example, one of my answers for car questions is the license plate number of a car I was stuck behind in a traffic jam some years ago.

Christopher B said...

Dean Scream - I think you're treating the Iowa caucus as far too predictive. Their track record is mixed with only about half of the winners of contested races being the eventual nominee. Trump placed second in 2016, McCain came in third in 2008, and Bill Clinton came in fourth (behind Uncommitted!) in 1992. Dean certainly had the possibility of recovery but the scream was a handy hook for the narrative of failing candidate flailing about under adversity.

John Holton said...

I treat the security questions like any other password: I let LastPass generate a string of nonsense characters and save the answers in the LastPass memo field. Works like a charm.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

James, I had forgotten that Lewis had weighed in on that topic

Donna B. said...

John Holton -- I tried one of the password thingies like that once and I couldn't get over the fact that my passwords were "saved" somewhere I didn't control. My 'system' takes more time and thought, but it is not saved on some server in whereverland that could be hacked.