Best Practices To “Celebrate” National Change Your Password Day: Evaluating the Strength of Your Passwords

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Every year on February 1st, Change Your Password Day provides an excellent opportunity to assess and enhance the security of your online accounts. While it may not be a day off work, it serves as a reminder to ensure that your passwords are robust enough to safeguard your valuable information from potential threats.

Traditionally, the advice was to change passwords every three months. However, with the advent of advanced tools such as password managers and data encryption, experts now emphasize the importance of the type of password used over the frequency of changes. In this guide, we provide up-to-date advice on creating strong passwords to keep your accounts secure and outsmart hackers.

Key Recommendations

  • Make It Complex: Create complex passwords by incorporating a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or common words to make it challenging for hackers to crack your password.
  • Longer Passwords: Opt for longer passwords, as they provide an added layer of security. A minimum of 12 characters is recommended, and consider using passphrases – sequences of random words or a sentence – which can be both strong and easier to remember.
  • Use Unique Passwords: Resist the urge to reuse passwords across multiple accounts. Unique passwords for each account ensure that if one is compromised, the damage is contained. Consider employing a reputable password manager for secure password generation and storage.
  • Update Passwords Yearly: Change passwords annually to minimize the risk of unauthorized access. Frequent changes can be exceptionally helpful in case of potential unknown access attempts, making it more challenging for attackers to maintain prolonged access.
  • Engage Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA, combining something you know (password) with something you have (e.g., a code sent to your phone). This significantly reduces the chances of unauthorized access, even if your password is compromised.
  • Set Up Strong Password Recovery Alternatives: Leverage secure password recovery options like security questions or alternative email addresses, avoiding easily guessable information.
  • Use Password Managers: Employ a secure password management tool to keep track of passwords. Avoid using the auto-fill feature to minimize the risk of potential attacks. Hackers can infiltrate sites and install a little bit of code on a page that creates a second, invisible password box. When your password manager autofills the login box, it will also fill in the invisible box, giving hackers your password. This isn’t overly common, but it still poses a risk.
  • Regularly Review Account Activity: Monitor account activity for any suspicious logins or activities. Be vigilant against phishing attempts, avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments, and educate your team on cybersecurity best practices.
  •  As cyber threats evolve, mastering fundamental cybersecurity practices is crucial. While creating strong passwords is essential, it’s equally important to educate your team and have a robust cybersecurity plan in place. To assess your cybersecurity system, book a FREE Cybersecurity Risk Assessment. Stay informed, proactive, and secure in the digital landscape.

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