National Change Your Passwords Day
National Change Your Password Day is observed on February 1st. It is a day set aside annually to assist businesses (and individuals) who have forgotten to change their passwords to protect themselves from hackers. Here are some precautions to protect your company on National Change Your Password Day and every day of the year.
Why is changing your passwords so important?
Cybercrime and security breaches are rising, and passwords are a critical security problem. Consider this. Four out of five breaches are linked to weak passwords. Over 81% of company data breaches are due to poor passwords. Over 99% of attacks can be blocked by multifactor authentication.
The passwords you create are the first line of defense against cyber theft. Regularly changing your passwords makes you less vulnerable to data breaches, leaks, data privacy and security loss, and cyberattacks.
Hackers often continue to access your account after they have hacked it. By changing your password regularly, you prevent their extended access to your account.
Changing passwords at regular intervals reduces the risk of someone guessing your password.
If you are in the habit of saving your passwords on your computer, chances are that someone can access your passwords if they use your computer. Changing your passwords prevents saved password abuse.
How to protect your passwords
As a business owner or employee, you must follow strict password practices and change your passwords every 60 to 90 days. Passwords must be changed immediately in the following scenarios:
After a company data breach, passwords must be changed.
Every time you share access to accounts with someone else.
If you log into any account – professional or personal – from an unsecured public network like at an airport or coffee shop.
If you have not logged into an account for a few months, experts suggest you change your old password before logging in.
When your company finds unauthorized access via its network security solutions. Change passwords immediately rather than waiting for the IT support services to ascertain unauthorized access.
When you discover phishing software or Malware via your network security monitoring system, change the passwords from a different device, not the infected one.
How to choose a great password
When it comes to choosing a good password, quality wins over quantity. A short password made of random numbers, symbols, and letters is much more powerful than a long password containing a simple word, phrase, name, birthday, or address. For example, instead of using the phrase “Ihatepasswords” as a password, you can try something like 1Hat3Pa$$w0rDs.
Don’t use the same password across services.
Choose a long password (at least 12 characters) comprising uppercase/lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
Get your IT support services involved in creating a good password protection policy for your organization.
Five tips to remember passwords without compromising them:
Create a tip sheet that offers clues to your password. The cryptic clues should only be answers that are not obvious to anyone else.
If you habitually write down your passwords, disguise them. For example, you can use a word that rhymes with your password.
Create a code – replace certain letters with a particular number, misspell words, or use acronyms.
Create a phrase using random words—for example, a combination of your favorite movie, food, holiday destination, and color.
Use a base password you won’t forget and tweak it for every service.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about using passwords to protect yourself. Making your employees aware of the importance of password security can go a long way toward preventing company data breaches. This National Change Your Password Day, ensure all your employees change their passwords.