Allow me to share with you one of the most bizarre and infuriating login forms I have ever seen. This is it, the one for CPP Identity Protection.

CPP Identity Protection Login Form

Yeah, you read that right. “Password or username” followed by “E-mail address”. The site drops hints that apparently passwords are discontinued, and since last year every customer has a username instead. Er, guys? Do you even understand how this works?

So when you join, you get a letter that contains your username, which is a pretty short alphanumeric string. It’s pretty much… a password. Not a very good one, but still.

First time you log in, you get a delightful series of prompts that up the WTF factor even more. The first one is “change your username”. My first reaction, as I guess it is for a lot of people, is “yeah, this alphanumeric string is crazy-hard to remember. I’ll just use the same username as I use everywhere!” I actually got as far as typing ‘tsuki_chama’ in the box before I realised. That would leave my online handle and e-mail address – both publicly-known information – as the only things protecting my account. On a website that deals with identity theft. Whaaaaat?

The second prompt is for the “username reminder”, i.e. password reminder, assuming you left your ‘username’ as a password-like string. Now there was no limitation on what you could have as a username, I guess you could have “abc” if you wanted. But here, your password reminder, is another story. There’s a drop-down box of Secret Questions, the usual sort – first pet, memorable place, etc. You have to pick one, there’s no free entry. And then you enter your answer to that secret question.

Which must be at least 8 characters and include at least one number.

Geez, do you think there might be another authentication field that you might want to apply that restriction to instead? But yeah, I’m fine, because I had a pet hamster called ROBOHAM-877.

So yay, the only vaguely secure string you’re providing is your password recovery answer, which is not needed to log you in at all, only to recover your bizarro-username in case you forget it, assuming you didn’t just go with the flow and set your username to the same damn username you use everywhere else.

Identity. Protection. Fail.