This Is How Often You Should Change Your Password

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Take a moment to think about the passwords you use for everything from your email to your bank account. Are they complex 20-digit combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters? Or are they the name of your dog with a ‘123’ added on?

If you’re like many people, it may be the latter. However, that’s unfortunate as the number of cyber threats facing the average person continues to increase. To stay safe, it’s time to get comfortable with changing your passwords often.

But how often should you change your password? Keep reading for a guide that will fill you in on how to stay safe.

How Often Should You Change Your Password?

The question of when to change your passwords is something that experts can’t seem to agree on.

Traditional wisdom holds that it’s a good idea to change them every few months. While this might seem like a lot of work, it also means that if a hacker gets into an account, they won’t be able to stay in there for long.

However, some experts disagree. They argue that unless you know that someone has broken into your account, there’s no reason to change your password. Their philosophy is that the more you change your password, the weaker the subsequent variations inevitably become.

Why Changing Your Password Is Important

Regardless of which camp you fall into, it probably wouldn’t hurt to change your old passwords into stronger new ones from time to time.

A keystroke logger is a scary type of technology that can log your computer’s keystrokes. Hackers use it to crack passwords for different accounts, and the less often you change your passwords, the higher the chance that they’ll break-in.

Changing your password also decreases the risk of someone being able to hack in. In many cases, hackers make repeated attempts to try and a break-in.

If they fail, they might try again and succeed. However, they won’t succeed if you change your password!

When You Definitely Need to Change Your Password

If you’re someone who changes your passwords every so often, remember that there are certain instances when you might need to change it suddenly.

Of course, one of the obvious times to switch it up is if you have any security breach. This is especially important if you’ve used that password for other accounts as well.

You should also change your password if you feel that any connection you’ve recently had may have been unsafe. For example, WiFi in public settings such as airports can be vulnerable to “sniffers,” or people who search for information to steal.

If you’ve recently checked private information in a public setting that felt unsafe, give yourself peace of mind, and change your passwords.

Which Passwords Are the Most Important?

Are all passwords created equal? Or are there some that you can get away with being a bit laxer with?

While you should have strong passwords for all of your accounts, there is somewhat of a hierarchy. To figure out where certain accounts fall, consider the value of the information potential hackers would have access to.

In most cases, your email password should be the most secure. It connects to all of your other accounts, meaning that if someone gets into it, they can do a lot of damage to your life.

On the other hand, if someone breaks into the RuneScape account, you made in 2007, that might be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

This Is How Often You Should Change Your Password 2

Password Guidelines

If, while reading this article, you’re faced with a sudden and immediate urge to change all of your passwords, there are some guidelines you should keep in mind to make sure that they’re effective and strong.

Ensure that any password you create has at least eight characters (the more, the better!). Include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, as passwords are case-sensitive. You should also include one or more special characters, such as symbols.

It should go without saying that you should never reuse passwords for multiple accounts. This opens the door to serious problems if a cybercriminal manages to break in. Take things a step further and make sure your passwords don’t resemble one another at all.

How to Keep Track of Your Password

While changing your passwords is something that sounds easy to do, many people struggle with keeping track of them all. You don’t want to display your password on a note taped to your computer, and your iPhone Notes seems vulnerable as well.

Luckily, most internet browsers make it easy to keep track of everything. If you use Safari, Apple Keychain can keep track of your passwords for you and can even help you create them. Google Chrome has a similar system.

Aside from using the password manager on your browser, you can choose from other management systems as well. Apps such as LogMeOnce do a great job of storing all of your information in a safe and secure server.

Check out these tips from LogMeOnce that will help you find the perfect password management software.

Stay a Step Ahead of Cyber Threats

Too many people fall victim to hackers and cybercriminals each year. How often should you change your password to stay safe? Although some experts disagree, in general, the more often you can change it, the safer you’ll be.

Do you have a better idea of why it’s so important to change your password from time to time? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other articles for more helpful guides and tips.

Thank you for reading!