Your computers carry a lot of sensitive and important data, so keeping work data safe is a major priority. One security tip for computer users is to constantly change your passwords to something new, but it may not always be clear why you have to do something this inconvenient so consistently. Changing your password avoids a number of dangers — including some that are less obvious, such as what happens to the passwords you have saved on computers you no longer own.
Limits Multiple Account Breaches
It can be tempting to use the same password on every account you have, whether for computers and network equipment or online accounts, as it’s much easier to remember a single one. However, it also means that if someone figures out your password, he can gain access to every account you have. Changing your passwords to something different and unique to each account will make it so that even if someone does guess one password, he cannot use it for anything else.
Prevent Constant Access
Not all hackers take what they need and leave. Occasionally hackers may continue accessing your account, either to monitor your data or continue stealing information over time. It can be difficult to figure out if someone else is using your account, so by changing your password consistently, you reduce the risk that other people will have frequent access to your accounts. Consider changing your password every few months to be on the safe side.
If you use the same password for long stretches of time, you increase the risk of someone guessing your password. Whether it’s from someone watching you type in your password a number of times or someone repeatedly trying to guess it, the longer you have the same password, the longer people have to try to find out what it is. Don’t let people watch you log in to your accounts, and avoid using short, easy-to-guess words or phrases.
Prevent Saved Password Abuse
If you ever switch computers with other people, or if you get rid of old computers without reformatting the hard drive, it’s possible that anyone who uses your old computer will have access to your saved passwords. Giving someone a computer with saved passwords is like giving them access to your accounts. Consistently changing your passwords will mean that even if someone has found an old password of yours, it will no longer be relevant or useful.
Choosing a Good Password
When coming up with a new password, you want something that can be safe from guesswork and hacking attempts. You may be tempted to use a long password, but the quality is much more important than quantity. Hacking programs are capable of guessing passwords by combining random words and phrases together, as well as any information relevant to you. To combat this, avoid using any personal information such as dates, addresses, or names. Also, avoid using simple words and phrases; if you do, make them grammatically incorrect to avoid guessing. Use random combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols that can still be easy to remember. For example, instead of “password” — which should never be used under any circumstance –, you could use “p4$$w0rD.” It is still the same word, and still short, but far harder to guess either by human or program.