How Often Should You Change Your Password?

And why password updates are important


JUNE 8, 2021

change-password desktop

Be honest: When is the last time you changed the passwords to your email, banking account, or your favorite online shop? A 2019 Google and Harris Poll study reports that Americans tend to sacrifice password security for convenience. They found that 66% of people use the same password for multiple online accounts and only 34% regularly change login information.

When to change your password

Experts generally recommend resetting your passwords every 30 to 90 days. Set calendar reminders at regular intervals to change the passwords to accounts that include your medical, financial, and banking information, along with your email, smart home apps, and home security account.

Other reasons to regularly change your password include:

  • Protecting against phishing attempts and data breaches. A big password breach might happen to your bank, your credit card company, or your favorite online store. When this happens, the company usually notifies you of the breach and recommends you change your password immediately to protect your information.

  • Limiting public access to your accounts. If you use a computer at the library, for example, and forget to log out, changing your password regularly limits others from gaining your information. Or maybe you gave a friend or ex-partner your HBO login or your home security app information years ago and they’re still accessing your accounts. In either case, it’s a good idea to change your security information.

How to change your password

Is a combination of your dog’s name and the year you were born your go-to password? It’s time to re-evaluate how you formulate your passwords. Here are some do’s and don’ts when creating a strong password:

  • Do use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Don’t use personal information like your pet’s name, your maiden name, a birthday, or the names of your children.

  • Don’t use other common words or names. According to password manager NordPass, two of the most common passwords in 2020 were “123456” and “password.”

  • Do use a longer password. Google recommends a 12-character password.

  • Don’t use the same password across multiple accounts. If a hacker can gain access to one of your accounts, they can breach multiple sites.

Password best practices

When one password gets compromised, chances are other accounts are already affected. To boost your digital security:

  • Check all your passwords. Take inventory of all your online accounts. Change any weak or reused passwords, particularly on accounts that contain sensitive information.

  • Use a password manager. How do you keep track of all these unique passwords? It’s a lot easier to remember “qwerty123,” after all, than it is to remember “L67H!2nbq!2J.” Install one of the many free or low-cost password managers to securely store all your passwords in one place. A password manager also will alert you to reused passwords and can auto-generate strong passwords when you create any account. All you have to remember is the master password for the manager.

  • Enable two-factor authentication. A multi-step login process keeps accounts even more secure than a single-factor login (i.e, just entering a single password).

Changing passwords regularly is an important step in securing all your digital information. As a Brinks Home™ customer, you can update all your information, including your password, via the Brinks Home Customer Portal. Contact Brinks Home for more information or assistance.

Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.

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