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Passwords: Changing Them and Saving Them

by Anthony Passalacqua, Risk Management Representative, TMLT

How to make easy-to-remember changes to your password

In part one, we explored how to make a strong password. Now that you know how to create a good password, keep in mind that you may be required by your IT department or EHR to change your password every few months. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to change your entire password; you may elect to only change sections of it.  For instance, if “Pa$$w0rd” is your password, you could simply implement a new element at the beginning, middle, or end of the password to change it. For instance, you may change “Pa$$w0rd” to “Pa$$w0rrdd2015.”

There are several methods you can use to easily change and remember your passwords. Many use numbers instead of letters. Others like to explore using more special characters. The trick is to use a sequence that works for you. You may notice that each time you change your base password, it looks like less of a word and more of an encrypted message that only you can read.

One tip: you may wish to change one element at a time so that you can easily remember your changes.  For example, you may decide to change the location of a capital letter, then add a special character, and then change a number.

Where to save the Pa$$w0rd

Avoid saving your password on your computer login or in a web browser if at all possible. Again, this makes it too easy for hackers to access or steal. Many people make the mistake of saving whole passwords to phones, writing them down, or putting them in a file. If you choose to save your password in writing, use caution. Don’t ever save them on post-it notes on or near computers. This is like putting your front door key under the welcome mat. Consider the same concepts that we use with credit card numbers and bank accounts. Once you figure out what your core password is, don’t ever write the entire word/acronym down. If you must, only write the changes and leave the rest of the password out, or write down clues that only you would understand or know the answer to, such as “my mother’s middle name.”

Read part one: P@$$w0rd! Not password