Um, No, That Isn’t What the Password is “S’posed to Be”

My school “upgrad­ed” its Ora­cle-based stu­dent records man­age­ment sys­tem weeks ago. I know that it is Ora­cle-based because ever since the “upgrade,” every time I try to access my “stu­dent por­tal” (my pri­ma­ry means of inter­act­ing with the school, as an online stu­dent), I get an “Ora­cle Site Builder” page.

Since the actu­al class­es are done on anoth­er site and I could still log in there, I kept wait­ing for the promised fix. The tra­di­tion­al “screwed up the finan­cial aid” prob­lem has got­ten to the point where I real­ly need­ed to get in to see what they’ve done so far, though, so I pushed fur­ther today than I have before and final­ly pushed a “help” (I use the term very loose­ly) desk per­son to actu­al­ly help me.

He took down all my infor­ma­tion and said that he’d have to go to his boss, but he’d call me back Real Soon Now. I had oth­er irons in the fire, as well as his (rather unique) name, so I consented.

Odd­ly enough, my phone rang again in about five minutes.

“We nee­da ver’­fy your info­mashun.” (I’ll have to drop the attempt to repro­duce the child’s mush mouth here. My spellcheck­er is hurt­ing too much.)

Ok—we went over my stu­dent num­ber and so on again.

Boy: “You don’t have an account.”

Me: “You mean my account has been delet­ed in your upgrade?”

Boy: “No, that can’t hap­pen. You ain’t nev­er had an account.”

Me: “That’s non­sense. I can log in and get the Ora­cle Site Builder page, there­fore I have an account.”

Boy: “We can’t log in, so you don’t have an account.”

Me: “Why are you try­ing to use my log-in? You’re sup­posed to be try­ing to fix my account, as an administrator.”

Boy: “We have to be sure you’re real­ly hav­ing a problem.”

Me: “You mean that you assume I’m lying before you’ll do anything.”

Boy: “No, we just have to be sure you’re not doing it wrong.”

Me: “Well, obvi­ous­ly, you’re ‘doing it wrong’ because I’m sit­ting here look­ing at the Ora­cle Site Builder while you can’t log in. Do you want me to e‑mail you a screen print as proof?”

Boy: “What pass­word you using?”

Me: “What kind of ques­tion is that? I don’t give peo­ple my pass­word. Don’t be stupid.”

Boy: “The pass­word don’t work.”

Me: “That’s because you don’t know my password.”

Boy: “It’s sup­posed to be (stan­dard default password).”

Me: “No, it should NEVER be (stan­dard default pass­word) after a user’s first log-in. In fact, if your sys­tem were set up prop­er­ly, it would force users to change the pass­word after the first log-in, and at least once every 30 days after that.”

Boy: “No, it’s sup­posed to be (stan­dard default password).”

Me: “Are you an IT major?”

Boy: “Yes, and the pass­word is sup­posed to be (stan­dard default pass­word). If it ain’t, we can’t log in to peo­ple’s accounts.”

Silent­ly think­ing “and that’s the point, dolt,” I went in and changed the pass­word to (stan­dard default pass­word), since that’s just about all I could do.

Me: “Ok, just to make you hap­py, I changed it. Try to log in now.’

Boy: “Now it’s right.”

Me: “So you can fix it?”

Boy: “I have to call you back.”

Me: “I don’t think so. I’ll just stick with you. That way if you find any­thing you don’t under­stand in my records, we can work on it together.”

Boy: “You have to call (num­ber for por­tal help desk). They have to fix it for you.”

Me: “Why did­n’t you send me to them in the first place?”

Boy: “I had to see if you real­ly had a problem.”

I changed the pass­word while he was giv­ing me the 800 num­ber, of course.

Boy: “What did you do?”

Me: “What­ev­er do you mean?”

Boy: “The sys­tem says I have to log in again.”

Me: “Well, sure­ly as soon as you saw that I real­ly had a prob­lem, you logged out, since you had no fur­ther rea­son to be logged in as me. Nor do you need to log in as me again. I changed the pass­word again.”

Boy: “You can’t do that. It’s sup­posed to be (stan­dard default password).”

Me: “Have your sysad­min give me a call if he has a prob­lem with it, but so far you’re the only one who ever has. Buh bye!”

I haven’t found any­thing he changed in my records. Not yet. I just don’t trust the lit­tle bas­tard. It also fright­ens the hell out of me to real­ize just how many stu­dents must not ever change their orig­i­nal pass­words, since he’s accus­tomed to blithe­ly log­ging in to every­body’s accounts, and it’s appar­ent­ly a stan­dard prac­tice in the department!

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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One thought on “Um, No, That Isn’t What the Password is “S’posed to Be”

  1. I can com­plain about things at my work­place, but thank­ful­ly stu­pid IT is not one of them. Why in heav­en’s name should every­one’s pass­word be pre­dictable?!?! What’s the point of hav­ing a pass­word then? Arg!

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