Virgin Media Does Mind the Bollocks When it Comes to Passwords

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's the more fun-loving of ISPs if you're to believe its marketing campaigns, but Virgin Media is still a prude when it comes to words you can use as passwords for its services.

As blogger Troy Hunt spotted over the weekend, the same JavaScript system that Virgin Media uses to assess your password strength also runs foul words through the ringer too. "Wanker" and "bollocks" all get blocked before being given the chance to act as your password, as well as racist terms and idiotic passwords such as "abc123".

What's interesting here though is Virgin boss Richard Branson's storied history with the word "bollocks". While running Virgin Records, Branson defended the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks (Here Come the Sex Pistols) album in court, where it was facing profanity charges for use of the word "bollocks". With help from a linguistics expert, Branson was able to prove that "bollocks" has its roots as a nickname given to priests in the 18th century, and hence couldn't be profane. It seems someone didn't pass the memo on to Virgin Media's security teams though.[@troyhunt via The Register]