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When changing your passwords, keep these 3 categories in mind.

January 8, 2016

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for some new passwords.  But you already know this, right?  Your passwords should be changed about as often as you change your toothbrush (once every three months or so).  This habit will keep hackers at bay for a little while longer, which is crucial given the 38% increase in cyber-attacks last year.

But, still, for many of you, you simply refuse to put the work in—no matter how many times you’re lectured on changing your passwords, you just won’t do it, and your passwords will remain unchanged until you’re prompted to change them, or until you forget your login credentials.

So maybe we should take another approach.  Rather than changing out all your passwords (which nowadays the average person has about 40 online accounts), only change the ones that really need it and the ones that matter the most.

  1. Take all those really, really bad passwords and change them out.  You know the ones I’m referring to… the accounts secured with “password123”, your dog’s name, or your favorite football team.
  2. Determine which accounts require the most security and give these accounts new passwords.  Your online banking account and email are prime examples.After you make a list of accounts you’d like to give new passwords to, then you need to do what so many people do incorrectly—give these accounts unique passwords.It’s far too tempting for people to apply the same password for each account they have.  Even an incredibly strong password won’t do you any good in this situation.  If a hacker does stumble upon your login credentials for one account, then every single one of your accounts with the same credentials will be compromised.  And it’s not a matter of “if”; it’s a matter of “when.”  If a hacker takes the time to hack into your account, then you better believe they’ll spend the additional ten seconds it takes to test out your credentials with all your online accounts.

    This being said, it seems we should include an additional category to the two listed previously…

  3. If you have any accounts that currently use the same password on another account, then apply a new and different password to each one.

All it takes is a few minutes to improve the security and privacy of your online accounts.  Are you willing to put the forth the effort to change out your credentials or do you feel that your current passwords are strong enough to go head-to-head with a hacker?