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