I picked this password because it proclaimed a warning one should never, ever ignore, assuming they could discern the meaning:


So what sentence of warning does this string of characters state?

Before anyone says anything, I will concede that I never said that it was a particularly secure password, especially for a firewall! (I hope they've changed it since then! I has been 20 years.)

  • $\begingroup$ What's the puzzle? $\endgroup$ – boboquack Jan 21 '18 at 1:32
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    $\begingroup$ I guess the password is !P/v+-### $\endgroup$ – theonetruepath Jan 21 '18 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry that it wasn’t clear. I hope that sentence improves it. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ Is the "one" who the warning is intended for the administrator of the firewall, or someone trying to access/penetrate it? $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Jan 21 '18 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ The warning was intended for anyone who would try to.. ahem... "mess" with the firewall. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 3:52

This is an even longer shot:

Don't pee on the electric fence. Or, don't pee on electric fences.


!p = don't pee;
/ = on (over);
V+- = electricity, volts positive and negative;
### looks like a fence.

  • $\begingroup$ You, my new friend, are the winner! You have been awarded one mighty space donut with extra frosting for having it exactly right on the first stab. Nice job! $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ I had numerous other complex passwords like this that just got weirder and weirder and I can't say that I have stopped this practice. I know have people have these beautiful system of password generation that they can easily rotate the password when they are badgered into it every 3 months, but I always pick some random thing and make it into a rebus. I figure what are the chances anyone would brute force that shit? $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 4:02
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    $\begingroup$ I might actually pull some old ones out to see if the meaning can be conveyed, but I fear someone with some amazing AI will render my thinking into a moderately complex Bayesian network and hack all my bank accounts. Again, thanks for playing! $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ LOL your brain works in weird ways! $\endgroup$ – shoover Jan 21 '18 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ This might come as a shock, but you are not the first person who's told me this. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 9:15

This is a long shot, but I think the warning is:

Not powerful or fast enough to tolerate hashes

potentially describing some quirk of the firewall, because:

The ! operator can be read as 'not' in some programming languages
The P symbol represents power in physics
The / can be read as OR
The v symbol represents velocity in physics
+- (or more specifically ±) is used to represent tolerances
# is called a hash symbol in computing

I could be way off base with this guess as well.

  • $\begingroup$ I really like how you think, but I am afraid the mindset behind this was much less disciplined. Also, I realize that I made a MISTAKE so I will edit and let you have another go. The best hint is that it starts out being very cut and try with the symbolic meaning, but then becomes more abstract at the end. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ I will say that you have at least one thing correct. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ With your correction in place, I think shoover's interpretation is better than any I can come up with! $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Jan 21 '18 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I admit my mistake probably fouled up your chances, but don't worry, there are plenty of space donuts to go around. $\endgroup$ – Darf Nader Jan 21 '18 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ unfortunately space donuts are all hole. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jan 21 '18 at 4:23

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