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How often should you change your passwords? We all know we should be changing our passwords, but how often is “often” enough? Some people never change their passwords, and even worse, recycle the same (or similar) passwords for almost all of their online accounts. This is a dangerous practice that can lead to security breaches, identity theft, and more.

Passwords are, unfortunately, often neglected by everyday people. We have enough to worry about on a daily basis without adding password security, right? The problem is that security breaches and cybercrime are on the rise. If you think it can’t happen to you, it most certainly can! Every year, thousands of Americans are victims of cybercrime and identity theft and fraud, costing billions in damages.

Protecting your passwords and personal information starts with securing passwords. Your passwords are your first line of defense against intrusion, and there are some rules to follow for best password practices. Let’s take a closer look at some important password guidelines that can help you take back control of your internet passwords.

When Should You Change Your Password?

After A Security Breach: With massive breaches like the Capital One and Target breaches in recent years, consumers have been put at risk from hackers halfway across the globe and on domestic soil. When a company declares they’ve experienced a data breach, you’ll want to change your password as soon as possible to protect your information. If your info has been compromised, you’ll typically be alerted by the company.

If You Suspect Unauthorized Access: Don’t wait until there’s glaring evidence of unauthorized access of your account(s). By that time, it’s usually too late. If you suspect someone is attempting or has attempted to access one or more of your accounts, change your passwords ASAP. It’s always better to take preventative measures than to wait until the damage is done.

If You Discover Malware or Other Phishing Software: A virus can put your computer at risk and leave your personal information exposed. If you discover such software on your computer after a scan, change your passwords immediately; preferably from a different device until you’re certain the virus has been removed.

Shared Access: Lots of people share access to accounts like Netflix and other media services. Some even share access to a joint bank account and access the info via web or mobile app. If you share access with someone you’re no longer in contact with, change your password as soon as possible. It’s best to not trust anyone outside of your circle of trusted people with your passwords. Ex-spouses or significant others, friends, and previous colleagues shouldn’t have access to any of your accounts.

Logging In At Public Places: Using an unsecured network to log in to your accounts is a good way to have your password stolen. If you visit the library or use a public network, change your password afterward.

Conclusion

Managing passwords is a responsibility that falls on both us as individuals and businesses. Without proper password habits, it’s far easier to fall victim to cybercrime and identity theft; each of which costs the nation billions in damages every year. Take control of your passwords with a password management and better protect your personal information and your identity.

Are you interested in learning more on how an MSP could help your organization stay safe? Give us a call at 678-389-6200 or visit mPoweredIT.com.

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