In the advent of Windows accounts, KISSFLOW, CMMS [computerized maintenance management system], ESS [employee self-service], etc., we are constantly faced with one problem: “What was my password?”
This happens to the best of us. I have found myself in this situation a couple of times, requesting ITSRs [IT service requests] one after another. Here is how I dealt with it.
Use phrases as passwords. Phrases are easier to remember and they can be creative and funny at the same time. Example: whennothingisgoingrightgoleft.
Always put numbers in your passwords. Numbers will enable you to keep the old phrase passwords and just change the number whenever the program requires you to update your password. Example: whennothingisgoingrightgoleft01. When asked to update, just use whennothingisgoingrightgoleft02.
Capital letters. In phrases as passwords, it’s very easy and natural to capitalize the first letter of the phrase, thereby making it easier for you to remember. Also, as programs will often ask for at least one uppercase or capitalized letter in your password, this would satisfy that. Example: Whennotingisgoingrightgoleft02.
Special characters. These are the “#,” “$” and “*” characters that programs require in a password. The way through these is to assign special characters to a specific case, such as “$” on your banking passwords or anything involving money or "@" for work, etc. It’s your choice and preference, so be liberal with it. Example: Whennothingisgoingupgoleft02$.
These passwords might inspire you to come up with creative ones. These were heard at work: Itsabeautifulday01#; Asapni01&; Assoonaspossible04*; Oneinamillion01$; Totalanyway05+; Tsktsktsk03%; Blueskies08#; Biliba07@; Thedamageisdone01!; Pananalapi08$; Paitpakinabuhipaitpaimokape02#; Paktolnasad02$; Accountability03#; Performanceorientation04#; and Collaboration04#.
Also, here’s a trick when asked to answer a security question: Security questions do not care if your answer is right, wrong or even remotely making sense. So, pick a word, like a PBA team or the name of your dog, and use it to answer these questions.
Security question: In which city did you get your first job? Answer: ginebra. Security question: What was your first pet’s name? Answer: ginebra.
However, it’s not good practice to answer only one word on all your security questions. Moreover, some programs prohibit using the same answers for security questions.
There’s an alternative way of doing it. Choose three words—a place (newyork), a person’s name (rod) and a thing (lechon). Use these words in answering your security question. If the question asks for a place, give “newyork”; if it asks for a person, answer “rod”; and so forth.
Security Question: Where did you spend your childhood summers? Answer: newyork. Security question: What was the name of your favorite teacher? Answer: rod. Security question: What is the name of your favorite book? Answer: lechon.
I hope these tips help and inspire you. Passwords and security questions need not be dreaded because they can be fun and interesting, too!
Earl Louis dela Peña is a mechanical engineer who works at the Mahanagdong Power Plant of Energy Development Corporation in Ormoc, Leyte. He advocates raising financial literacy among Filipinos through personal finance education, dabbles in tech, and loves to simplify anything complicated in 500 words, more or less. (Story/Photos by: Earl Louis dela Peña)