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Apparently Ethereum provides the ability to change the password associated with one of your Accounts.

What exactly happens when you do this? Do your private keys change, too? Afterward, are you still at risk if someone were to obtain any combination of the old/new keys and old password?

I'm guessing the safest way to change your password is to simply create a new Account and move your funds to it, but since the password change command is there I'm curious what it does.

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The password is used to encrypt your private key. When you change the password, the client decrypts the private key using the old password and then re-encrypts it using the new password, overwriting the old file in the process.

What this means is that if you have a backup of the encrypted key, you can always unlock that key with your old password. That is the safest way to update the password. Back up your keyfile, then use the password update command. Worst comes to worst, you just re-import the backup. Once you've verified that the password update was successful, you can delete the backup.

I'd say that in all, this method is a safer way to update your password. Sending fund requires a transaction fee and there's always the chance of a typo.

If you're not sure how to make a backup: How do I backup my ether accounts?

  • Thanks! So my interpretation of this is, the command is safe to use unless you are suspect of the security of both of your old password and old encrypted keys (i.e. if both of those things might have leaked outside your control you should immediately move your funds to a new address). – rkagerer Mar 21 '17 at 2:28
  • Well if you think your private key has leaked, then you should really move all of your funds to an entirely new account since unless your password is a truly random string of characters, it can probably be brute forced eventually. But if only your password is suspect, then you can just change the password – Tjaden Hess Mar 21 '17 at 4:46

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