A Whole Lotta Wrong

Since this is the season of giving gifts, I figured it was an appropriate time to FINALLY pull out the long planned post on a item my brother Ron found at a local bookstore. Upon spotting it in the store’s designated bargain area, he immediately called me knowing it would add a bit of humor to the day.  In truth it both gave me a chuckle and at the same time frightened the hell out of me – so much I asked him to pick it up for me so I could use it here.  Thankfully it had already been marked down, but let’s give Ron some credit for removing at least one opportunity for someone to do something REALLY REALLY stupid.  What is this evil I talk about, that is so heinous (.. and yes a big dose of hilarity) that warranted being added to my “Worst thing Ever” list?  I shall delay no more..

I’m guessing there were two reactions to that image.  Either you are in the Information Technology field and just crapped your pants our you are prone to identity theft and thought “Hey, that would be handy!”  I decided that the Internet is so ubiquitous these days that the “What’s the Internet” response has long since sailed.  So, someone at Piccadilly publications decided that the Internet was so ripe for money making opportunities that it was worth bringing a product out in this space.  Let’s see, a book on how to use it has already been taken by the Dummy and Idiot series, a collection of cool website has pretty much been replaced by that Googelly company.  Just then some smart-ass IT guy walks by and says .. “How about a book of post-its that you can write your passwords on and stick to your computer – that way you can STOP calling our help line every month asking for a reset” .  Light bulbs go off, fireworks light up the skies and next thing you know their designers are busy planning out a cool, sexy layout to unleash on the hordes of customers just waiting for a way to keep all their passwords handy.   All you security people just relax a little.  Piccadilly didn’t make it in the publishing world by being stupid.  They made sure to leave off any markings on the cover – you don’t want any misguided soul eying your password book and getting any ideas.

Nothing to see here, just your standard run of the mill black book for sketching.. yeah, that’s it, sketching.  Now just in case you forget what it’s for, they did put a title on the first page – INTERNET PASSWORD LOGBOOK.  I like how they were considerate enough to shout it seeing as how their target audience are likely all gray haired and deaf.   But wait, isn’t this data you might want to keep protected in some manner..

No worries, they put a lock on it!  Those Piccadilly people are geniuses.  Now if I happen to leave it in the airport I can sleep assured that all my important passwords are sufficiently protected from prying eyes.  Guessing this one was simply missing the key which is why it was stuck in the Bargain Bin – otherwise the full price of $12.99 would be a steal.  Hmmm .. but what if someone is able to make a key, would there be a way to indicate who it belongs to?  The world is so trusting these days, I’m sure anyone who found it would surely return it.  At least that is what the publisher thought seeing as how they provided a convenient place to put your name, address, phone numbers and even your email – and just in case you had a heart attack when you found out every account you own has just been compromised, they included an emergency contact area.

Hit the jump to read more about this product

Just for emphasis… someone thought it was important to add an emergency contact to a password book.  Surprise they didn’t recommend adding something in the notes field about your allergies and medications.  From there you will find the expected area to put all your favorite websites. This includes, of course, your user name, the associated highly secure password and notes which is probably for any hard to remember key phrases or questions to reset your password in the event you forgot it or it was COMPROMISED.  For the I.T. guys out there, feel free to cringe at this point.  But wait.. there’s more..

Of course, who can remember all that annoying techy jumble mumble related to your IsSPee.   What good is knowing your website password if you can’t remember how to get ON the Information Highway.  Thank you Piccadilly for thinking of everything.  What!?! there’s more?  Ahhhh, my home network settings.  This way I can reset the router if someone tunnels their way into my network – although, not entirely sure how they would ever do that – maybe someone at my ISP might leave the key with their Internet Password Book – those idiots.

And lastly, a handy place to put your software license information.  Keys and login information to their corporate support line should do the trick.  If I ever need to purchase additional licenses or maybe even send a friend a gift license to spread the joy, I can just flip to the back of my handy book (after unlocking it) and presto.

So there you have it.  Piccadilly has provided you a convenient means to improv..err.. more like destroy your life.  In all honesty, who in the HELL thought this was a good idea?  The fact that if you lose this treasure chest, you nullify the need to even have logins/passwords.  I can just imagine the conversation  now:

Hacker 1: Hey, the dude next to me left this black book in the lobby of the airport

Hacker 2: and you bothered to pick it up, it’s a sketch book.

Hacker 1: Oh, thought it might be useful [while tossing it into the garbage]

[having spent years out of the sunlight and too much time playing ZORK instead of going outside and playing ball with the cool kids, the book bangs against the side of the trash can and falls open on the floor]

Hacker 2; Ummm, does that say PASSWORD LOGBOOK ?[shouting it of course in true Internetspeak.

Hacker 1: Why yes it is, but it is locked

[hacker 2 proceeds to smack Hacker 1 on the back of the head]

Hacker 1: [after regaining composure] oh, maybe we can hack into it with our highly sophisticated tools

Hacker 2: [seeing that the first page was bent as a result of the impact] Actually looks like the lock is broken, trying turning the page

Hacker 1: We be in business boys – time to hit some Russian porn sites and ring up some accounts.

Hacker 2: First we need a credit card

Hacker 1: Umm, they have a login to their ISP – betting we can find their credit card information there.

Hacker 2: But the pin, we need the secret pin.

Hacker 1: Let’s use their phone number they conveniently provided us, tell them we need to update their credit card information and just ask them for their pin – to add validity we can ask them the key phrase they added to the notes page.

Hacker 2 Screw that, let’s drive to their house, get on their WI-FI and [hard to understand anything else due to all the drooling]

I think you get the point.  Want to know what the final kicker was … there was a sticker on it that stated it was printed in CHINA.  The cherry on top.  Big thanks to my brother for spotting this gem.  Big thumbs down to Piccadilly for trying to make a buck on the worst idea of the Information Age and god help anyone stupid enough to actually use this product.

2 thoughts on “A Whole Lotta Wrong”

  1. Wow, a whole post on something I found!! I’m flattered.

    I was a bit surprised they didn’t include an entry for your SSN, something else to remember. And maybe your garage door code, or security system code if you have one. And your home AND work computer logins and passwords, and your work badge number and keycode. Why should I have to remember all that when I can keep it locked up (sic) in the little book? And the answers to all those pesky security questions, too. And handy fingerprint and iris scan images.

    I don’t even trust those password keeper programs you can run on your computer.

    Anyway, thanks for the post–I had completely forgotten about that book. No wonder it was on clearance.



  2. Look at that, someone is definitely staying of top of things now. I agree, they did kind of fall down on the content side – SSN, and home security should definitely be included in an worthy password holder. To be honest, they could have saved a few pages for most people – simply add one entry for password to be used for all accounts and then simply have pages to list the URLs and usernames (since there it is impossible these days to generate one username that can be used by all accounts) what, like maybe 5 pages is all that would be needed for that section.

    I have lost faith in those electronic password keepers mainly due to a serious distrust of these smaller computer firms being manipulated by NSA – If they can force the big guys.. Google, Microsoft etc. to backdoor them you can guarantee they either now their encryption code or have enough power to brute force it – oddly it makes me more confident in shareware since any backdoors are surely to be found by someone.

    Thank you for picking it up for me! – been staring at it on my desk for some time now and figured it was time to finally get it in gear.


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