Computers and online accounts store a lot of sensitive, important data. With major data breaches and cyber attacks making headlines constantly, keeping your work data safe is critical. The proliferation of keystroke logging software and malware can also put your sensitive data at risk. The best way to make sure that your data stays secure is by resetting your passwords on a regular basis. Despite this being a best practice for cybersecurity, most users find this process cumbersome and annoying. Resetting your passwords avoids a number of obvious dangers. However, there are several dangers that are not quite as apparent.
Limiting Breaches on Multiple Accounts
Some users are tempted to use the same password on many different accounts since it is easier to remember one password. However, this means that if an unauthorized user discovers the password of one of your accounts, they now have access to all accounts that use it. It is important to have a unique password for each account to limit the potential damage and access a hacker could gain to one (or many) of your accounts.
Preventing Consistent Access
While some hackers will take all of your information and then leave, occasionally they will continue to access your account in order to monitor your data or steal it over time. It’s difficult to identify this when it occurs, so changing your password regularly reduces the risk that others have consistent access to your accounts.
Using the same password for long stretches of time gives hackers a longer opportunity to guess your password. Don’t allow people to watch you log in to your accounts and don’t use short, easy-to-guess words as passwords.
How to Choose a Secure Password
The art of coming up with a good password can be difficult. You don’t want to choose a password that is easy to guess. Long passwords can be secure, but it is generally better to focus on quality rather than quantity. There are hacking programs out there that can use data relevant to you, such as birthdays, addresses, and names, to guess passwords by combining words and phrases together. Avoid using such personal data in your passwords. Use random combinations of letters (lower and upper case), numbers, and symbols that still make some sense to you and are easy to remember. Alternatively, you could use a random password generator (such as this one here) or a keychain program that encrypts all your passwords and requires only one to unlock (but don’t forget to change the keychain program’s password regularly, too!).
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