New Year: Time to Update Passwords!

The New Year is the perfect time to take a fresh look at all your electronic assets—from the ones you store on your hard drive to those you keep on the cloud. Of course, that can be a big job and you may not even know where to start. The answer is: start with your passwords!

If you are like most people, you have a handful of passwords that you use for dozens of accounts. And chances are, you haven’t updated those passwords in a long time. Unfortunately, sloppy password maintenance can leave you vulnerable to the many security threats that are lurking out there.

So, what do you need to keep in mind when you're updating your passwords?

  • Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts: As difficult as it can be to devise a new password for each of your accounts, it’s worth it. To make things easier, come up with a convention such as a word, plus a symbol and some numbers. The longer the better since longer passwords are harder to hack.
  • If you are serious about maintaining unique passwords, invest in a password manager such as Dashlane or LastPass. Subscribing to a password manager is relatively inexpensive and can save you from having to reset your passwords over and over.
  • While it might be tempting, stay away from passwords full of personal details. The name of a child or pet, or a birth date are big no-nos.
  • Nonsense is good sense when it comes to passwords. Passwords that use regular words are easier to hack than a strange combination of letters or a peculiar spelling. Remember, length is more important than complexity.

Now that you have good, solid passwords, guard them. Never share them and keep an eye out for phishing attempts. You should never reset a password using a link from an unsolicited source. If you didn’t request the password reset, it could be an attempt to capture your information.

If you set smart passwords it’s not critical that you change them frequently. Periodically freshening up your passwords, and following the latest best practices on how to build a strong password, will help keep your online accounts safe and sound.

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