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When should I change my password?

When should I change my password?

I use several web services like Gmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace etc. All these accounts have different passwords which are sufficiently strong. But sometimes I still worry because of the sensitive and important information stored in these accounts. Should I change the passwords often? Will this help increase security and thwart the attacks from hackers? Are there any advantages in changing passwords frequently?
Norma D. Coon

In brief, the need to frequently change your password depends on the type of account. As you probably know, not all services are the same. For instance, your online banking account should be guarded with dear life while the one at a forum is not that important. Even so, is there any advantage in changing the password often?

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Before we delve into that, let me first list tell you about the disadvantages of changing passwords.

Potential problems if you change password often

How often should I change my password? Is there any advantage? Will my account be more secure?On some services (for example, banking or financial portals), you are required to change the password every few days. Why is this necessary? Is it to protect your account from hacker attacks? Or is it to make sure that you can recall the password? I think it’s a mix of both. But beware, there are some inherent dangers of changing passwords frequently.

  • The new password may just slip out of memory
  • Studies have shown that if people are made to change their login details often, they end up using simpler passwords which are easier to crack and offer little security and protection against hackers – check out the list of most common passwords.

Tip: If a service requires you to change the password frequently pick two that are similar. You can then alternately between them, swapping them when required. For instance, Hair98#GEL and HAIR#98gel differ only in the capitalization and the position of the hash (#) symbol.

The need to frequently change the password – the advantages

Will you be able to increase account security and foil attempts by hackers if you frequently change the password? Yes… at least that’s what people will have you believe.

Personally I don’t see any great advantage in frequently changing the password. I would rather put my efforts to make a good password and memorize it. But if you have a tendency to share the account with others, it’s highly recommended that the login details are updated every few months.

As for me, I change the login information of vital accounts quarterly. I do this merely for mental satisfaction (ya, following the herd, as it were).

Please remember that there isn’t any advantage in changing the password frequently if you end up having simple passwords which make it easier for hackers to gain access to your account. What’s important is to create a strong and complex password and commit it to memory.

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Your comments
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  • Musamedic Abubakar on February 23rd, 2012 11:02 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Kostas on February 22nd, 2013 5:48 am

    Yes. Changing the password frequently will only result in problems. It’s best to set up a complex password and stick to it.

  • Oketa Izuchukwu on March 12th, 2013 10:18 am

    How often do i update the password?

  • Manish on March 17th, 2013 8:30 pm

    @Oketa Izuchukwu
    I think I answered your question in the article. I don’t think updating the password every week would make your account more secure. A strong complex password with a good mix of upper and lower case letters with digits and symbols thrown in provides ample security.

  • B. Luchaman on April 18th, 2013 5:23 pm

    I have three passwords which I use. I interchange amongst them every month.

  • Martin Mushaba on April 26th, 2013 2:42 am

    Just don’t use simple passwords. You can continue with the a nice strong one as long as you like.

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