April Is “Change Your Password” Month

April is a time of change. We recently set our clocks forward, leaves are returning to the trees, and spring is in the air. But this isn’t just a time to change your clocks – you should also be changing your passwords.

April Is “Change Your Password” Month – Micro Visions, Inc. Urges Users To Update Their Passwords

April is a time of change. We recently set our clocks forward, leaves are returning to the trees, and spring is in the air. But this isn’t just a time to change your clocks – you should also be changing your passwords.

April is “Change Your Password” month, an annual reminder that your outdated passwords may be putting you at risk. An important part of cybersecurity is staying up to date – don’t let an old password put you at risk.

“Our industry has spent 20 years training users to create terrible passwords. By mandating “complexity” rules that require a mix of letters, numbers, and punctuation, we have successfully trained people to compose passwords that are ridiculously easy to guess. If you are reading this, and your password is “Spring20!” or something similar, change it now,” states Patrick Kuras, Business Technology Strategist, for Grand Rapids based, Micro Visions, Inc.

Recommended ways to stay secure:

  1. Use a password manager like LastPass that keeps track of all your passwords for you (and protect it with a very long password).
  2. Never, ever, use the same password (or a variation of the same password) for two different services.
  3. Use long passwords (16-24 characters or more), and don’t worry about complexity rules,” stated Patrick Kuras, Business Technology Strategist, for Micro Visions, Inc.

Another perspective:

“If you are using a password manager, use 16-24 characters of upper, lower, numbers, and special characters. Otherwise, pick a 20 or more character set of words that are random and that someone could not guess if they were able to track down information about you. If you use a password manager, most will generate the password for you. You should also have a unique password for each site you log on to and preferable a unique user id,” says Julie Lough, President of Grand Rapids based Micro Visions, Inc.

Why Do You Need To Change Your Passwords?

If you haven’t yet, you will at some point probably get a spam email that says it’s holding your password at ransom. While it may seem like a hoax, there’s actually a chance it’s legit.

Say a site you have signed up for and made purchases from, or planned to make purchases from, gets hacked. That info is then sold on the dark web, and hackers use it to hold users at ransom.

The good news is that there is a simple way to protect against this – change your passwords on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if a hacker has an old password from three years ago from that website you don’t use. That is, so long as you don’t use the same password for everything, and also, that you update your passwords.

Make Sure Not To Use One Of These Passwords…

At one time, 86% of more than 2 million breached passwords were identical to passwords that had already been breached. How is this possible, if everyone’s passwords are long, complex and unique?

In reality, they are not.

The top 10 most common and repeatedly breached passwords in this report include:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. Qwerty
  4. password
  5. 111111
  6. 12345678
  7. abc123
  8. password1
  9. 1234567
  10. 12345

When Updating, Put Your Passwords To The Test

Click here to test how secure your password is – take a few minutes and try a few.

Those who score low need to keep the following password tips in mind:

  1. Length and Complexity: Keep in mind that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common – users worry about forgetting them, so they make them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
  2. Numbers, Case, and Symbols: Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols in order to increase the complexity.
  3. Pattern and Sequences: Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords in order to better remember them, but again, that makes the password really easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.

In the end, creating, updating, and managing strong passwords can be frustrating, but it’s incredibly important. Privacy and security are major concerns for personal users and businesses alike these days, and so users have to be sure that they aren’t making it easy for hackers to access their private data.

About Micro Visions, Inc.

For over 30 years now, Micro Visions offers our valued customers responsive IT support that is backed by our comprehensive suite of managed IT services to address their every technology need. Our approach to holistic IT care includes the continuous management, monitoring, and maintenance of our clients’ technology assets to keep their networks and systems fortified against invasive cyber attacks and primed to maintain their ideal IT working environment.