Something so trivial as changing your password frequently might seem like a good idea. But recent surveys have revealed that you’re more at risk if you consistently reset your passwords.
While it might seem counterintuitive, consistently resetting your passwords could leave your accounts more vulnerable than ever.
One important discovery made by ExpressVPN’s report on password protection and safety highlights that almost 50 percent of adults in the U.S. tend to change their password more than once a month.
Besides personal preferences, many workplaces also force users to change their passwords periodically. Banks and banking apps, too, encourage people to change their current password every 90 days or similar, even if they have not forgotten their password. Banking and social media apps rake up the major portion of password resets.
According to the same ExpressVPN report, 30 percent of people report having to reset their banking passwords. While a substantial 24 percent report having to reset their social media passwords frequently.
So what does all this mean? It means people either forget their passwords too often or simply fiddle with resetting them in the hopes that it will secure them even further.
Security Loopholes That Hackers Can Take Advantage Of
Why is resetting your password so bad, then? Researchers state that changing your passwords frequently puts your brain on edge. With so many accounts in use and so many passwords to remember, your brain is overwhelmed by the number of passwords it has to remember.
As a result, people often end up reusing the same password again and again with only tiny iterations and changes. Little changes are predictable and easy to break. This makes it easier for hackers to guess your passwords.
Another scenario that makes your account vulnerable is using the same passwords across all accounts. If one account is compromised, it also opens the door for all other accounts to be compromised.
Then there is the loophole of simplicity.
To remember a password, people end up choosing a password that is simple, common, and easy to remember. If it is easy for you to remember, it is easy for a hacker to crack too. Therefore your account password ends up being weak and your account is at high risk.
Besides your account security being compromised, frequent password resets also have other effects. Your productivity often takes a hit too. Constantly hitting the forgot password option might not seem like a big deal, but it is. In the same report, ExpressVPN also found that a person spends almost four minutes resetting their forgotten password.
As minutes add up to hours quickly, these lost minutes become hours. Companies that mandate regular password resets might want to reconsider their stance on this. The same ExpressVPN report also highlighted that work passwords make up only 7 percent of password changes.
The Solution To Increasing Your Online Security
So, what is the solution and how do you decrease the security risk for your account? The easiest way is to be more tech-literate.
The next step is to be active when it comes to your security especially your work emails, banking apps, and social media. Things that cannot be compromised at any cost. Then use alternatives to decrease the security risk for your accounts.
Using A Password Manager
Security experts suggest using password managers in order to manage your passwords. Password managers not only help you store your passwords but also help you suggest strong passwords to secure your account. These password managers work across all your systems – your laptop (personal as well as work), your phone, and even your tablets.
All you need to do is remember one master password that you need to use to get into your password manager. There are many free as well as paid password managers. For the maximum security of your passwords, we recommend choosing a paid option.
Use Two-Factor Authentication Wherever Possible
Another way to keep your accounts in check and secure is by activating 2FA or two-factor authentication wherever possible. What is 2FA, you ask? We’ll explain.
Imagine logging into your email. An email provider like Gmail will need your password and a one-time password that will be sent to your alternate email or phone number. It can also be a secret question or a specific code. That means that even if your password has been compromised, you have another layer of security at your disposal.
Though there are some issues with 2FA. When you forget your alternate password or don’t have access to your mobile number, logging into your account will most likely be impossible. But the benefits clearly outweigh the problems with 2FA!
Finally, the best cure for an issue is its prevention. Therefore its highly recommend to cut down on frequent password changes, use different passwords for different accounts, and keep a safe record of them all. While online password managers are ideal, you can also explore offline methods. Though they are susceptible to more danger and security risks, at least it will not be an online hacker that gets your password.