Securing personal information and communication online starts with using strong passwords. Like many people, you know you should change your password frequently. However, it’s challenging to determine how often you should do so. Some people opt to maintain the same password or even recycle similar passwords on their accounts.
Neglecting password security is dangerous because it exposes you to identity theft, hacking, and other forms of security threats. Rising cybercrime cases and security breaches highlight the need to minimize attack risks. This research data from Rublon shows which smartphones are more likely to receive an attempted hack, showing just how real these threats are.
Remember that your password serves as the first line of defense against these attacks. If you’re unsure about how often you need to change your password, here are five instances when you should:
- You Experience Phishing or Malware Attacks
The other time you need to change your password is when you experience phishing or malware attacks. Viruses expose computers to hacking attacks and reveal personal information online.
If you notice your computer has viruses after scanning it on an anti-virus, make a change to your passwords right away. It’s highly recommended that you use a different device to make the change until you’re sure the virus is no longer active on your computer.
- You’ve Experienced A Security Breach
With many security breaches costing vast amounts of money in recent years, hackers’ risk of online intrusion across borders has never been more palpable. If you experience a security breach on your personal account or a data breach at work, it’s time to make the much-needed password change at the earliest time possible.
Doing so enables you to protect your details and any critical information available in your account. Report any compromise on organizational data to the company, and the details passed to all relevant staff.
- You’ve Experienced Unauthorized Access
Consider changing your password immediately if you suspect that someone has gained unauthorized access to your account or system. Don’t wait to get evidence to support your suspicions if this happens.
Instead, move with speed and act. In most instances, gathering evidence takes time, and a lot of damage may happen by the time you get proof. Changing your password as soon as you notice attempts of unauthorized access to one or various accounts goes a long way in preventing or minimizing damage.
- You Use Shared Accounts
Another reason to change passwords frequently is when you use shared accounts. Most people share accounts such as Netflix and other services. Some people share bank accounts and use the web or mobile apps to access those accounts.
If you realize you have shared access to an account with a person you no longer contact, change the login details immediately. You’re better off not trusting someone outside your circle with passwords. Individuals like ex-spouses, friends, and former workmates shouldn’t maintain access to your accounts.
- You’ve Not Logged Into Your Account For A Long Time
If you’ve not used your account for a long time, you need to change the old password. Although some people recommend changing old passwords that haven’t been in use for a year or more, experts advise that old passwords need to be changed after several months.
Change your passwords regularly, even on accounts you don’t use much. This enables you to secure your accounts and systems, especially when you don’t have an integrated multi-factor authentication.
- You Public WiFi To Access Your Accounts
If you use unsecured internet connections to log in to your online accounts, you should change your password right away. Using WiFi in public spaces like restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, and parks is an easy way to get your password hacked. Alternatively, learn ways to maintain identity safety when using public internet connections.
Network, system, and account security is a priority for many organizations and individuals. One way of improving this kind of security is to update passwords regularly. However, determining how often to make those changes isn’t apparent for most people. The standard practice is to change password details at least once every two to three months.
However, accessing accounts via public WiFi may require one to change passwords more times. If you find yourself in any of the six situations described above, change your password as soon as possible. Failure to change account login details regularly can compromise the security of online accounts or systems. Further, use password managers and multi-factor authentication tools to enhance password security.