Change online passwords once a month

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/04/2018 (1593 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It doesn’t seem as life-saving as changing the batteries in our smoke detectors, so being careful about internet security can easily fall by the wayside. However, when so much of our sensitive information is now online, we can’t afford to think “it’ll never happen to me.”

Instead, we must be proactive. March was fraud prevention month, and March 15 was national change-your-password day.

But the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding you to make changing your passwords a monthly routine.

Dreamstime.com Ensuring your personal information is secure is more important than ever. Remember to change your account passwords on a regular basis.

With accounts for so many things — online banking, social media, email, work platforms, and more — it seems a daunting task. But failing to keep your online accounts secure can put your money, identity and reputation at risk.

The BBB gives the following tips to help you ensure your passwords best protect your sensitive information.

• First, make your password long and complex, with at least 12 characters, a mix of upper and lowercase letters, and symbols and numbers. Avoid using common words or phrases. And try not to use passwords for more than one account.

• If an account allows multi-factor authentication, use it. When you log in, you’ll have to enter a second piece of information, making it much more difficult for someone else to hack.

• Last, be sure to choose security questions that aren’t easily found out or guessed. Your mother’s maiden name could be found through public records and there are only so many options for the colour of your first car.

These tips can leave people feeling overwhelmed, thinking “there’s no way I’m going to remember different random letter-number combinations for all my accounts.”

Fear of forgetting a password can make us disregard these tips. But don’t forget, you can use a password manager to help you remember them and keep them safe. A reputable password manager app can give you all your passwords at the tip of your fingertips, and you can access it with a single, strong password.

If one of your accounts does become compromised, quickly change your password for that account and for all accounts that have similar passwords.

“Staying one step ahead of online hackers can save you and your hard-earned money. If you take some time to update your passwords now, you’re less likely to spend time, frustration and money later,” said Len Andrusiak, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Manitoba and Northwest Ontario.

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