How Often Should You Change Account Passwords to Prevent Fraud?

By Srikanth
7 Min Read
How Often Should You Change Account Passwords to Prevent Fraud? 1

Experts say you should change your password every three months to avoid any potential issues. So, here’s the answer to the title – we should change our passwords every three months.

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Studies also say the average person has around 80 passwords, but we highly doubt that. It’s probably more true that the average person has 80 accounts and uses the same three passwords across all of them. But in terms of cybersecurity and online safety, it’s a terrible practice.

Read on to find out more about how to avoid the potential of account takeover fraud online.

The Significance of Frequent Password Changes

Frequently refreshing your passwords is vital, given that it narrows down the time for which a stolen password can be useful. For extended periods, hackers continue to exploit breached passwords if users fail to refresh them often enough. Regularly changing your passwords thus reduces this window of opportunity, shielding your sensitive data from unauthorized access and preventing account takeover fraud.

Regular password changes may also hinder attempts by cybercriminals who use password-cracking tools. These tools are designed to try different combinations until they eventually figure out what your password is. Changing your password regularly renders these efforts fruitless because the tool might break before it gets a chance to crack it.

The right frequency depends on various factors, including the sensitivity of the information being protected and the possible outcomes of compromise situations. The average is three months, but if it’s your bank account password, you might want to change it monthly.

For most personal accounts, changing your password every three to six months is a good practice. Still, in the case of an institution dealing with highly classified data, e.g, financial or healthcare records, more frequent renewal – like every one or two months – is advisable.

Alternatively, changing passwords immediately following any security breach or suspected hacking is essential. Threats outside the normal schedule may appear at any moment; therefore, an immediate response must be taken to protect your accounts, even if breaches occur within predetermined time limits.

Using Strong, Unique Passwords

Although the frequency of changing passwords matters, it’s equally important that passwords be strong. A strong password should be unique, containing both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Will you remember a random password like this? Probably not – you should write it down. Avoid using information that’s easily guessable, like birth dates or common words.

Using a different password for each account is another thing that must not be taken lightly. The reuse of passwords in several accounts raises the possibility of security breaches. When one account is compromised, all other accounts with the same passwords become vulnerable. To deal with multiple strong passwords, consider using a password manager, which can generate and store complex passwords securely.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Besides regular password changes, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an extra level of security. MFA requires users to supply two or more verification factors before they can access their accounts, including something known (a password), something owned (a mobile device), or even something inherent about them, like biometric data.

By turning on MFA, even if a hacker gets your password, they will still need the second factor to enter your account. That significantly reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access and enhances overall security. MFA may include other forms, including email verification codes, security questions, or hardware tokens.

The importance of MFA has been emphasized by its proliferation across different platforms and services, including banking, email, and social media.

Best Practices for Password Management

Here are some of our best practices for password management:

  • Avoid Predictable Patterns: Don’t use sequential numbers, keyboard patterns, or repeated characters for your passwords. These are the initial combinations that hackers attempt to access on any system. Instead, generate complex passwords that contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, figures, and special features.
  • Track Account Activities: It’s important to regularly evaluate account activities for any suspicious access or abnormal behavior. Most online services provide recent activity logs, which you ought to check on from time to time if you don’t already. If you see anything strange, promptly adjust your password and report the matter to the relevant service providers.
  • Educate yourself and others: Keep abreast of the most current cybersecurity risks and share this information with as many people as you can. Knowledge of typical threats, including phishing, malware, and social engineering, makes them noticeable at an early stage.
  • Secure Devices: Ensure that your devices have proper antivirus software installed and firewall protection is turned on for accessing your accounts. Regularly update the operating system along with other applications to fix any security vulnerabilities.
  • Beware of Phishing: Be careful about emails, messages, or websites that are designed to trick you into sharing your passwords. Before clicking any link or inputting login details, ensure that you have confirmed the sender’s details.

Will you start changing your password more often? It is a simple task, more so if you use a password manager tool. Changing your account password frequently is an important measure against fraudulence and unauthorized entries. Change your passwords today!

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