Why you should change your passwords regularly

·1-min read
A good password should be complex, with numbers, letters and various special characters.

How many people really change their passwords on a regular basis? Yet updating passwords every three to four months is a vital step in reducing the risk of having your online accounts hacked.

Getting out of bad habits

While passwords should be changed regularly, they also shouldn't be too simple. Forget using your name or your kids' names, your pet's name or your date of birth, let alone obvious combinations of letters and numbers like "123456" or "qwerty," often considered some of the world's most popular passwords (source: SplashData).

Another bad habit is using the same password for several online services, or just changing one character. The first thing hackers will do is try their luck using a password they've just obtained on other digital platforms.

How to choose a good password

The best solution for making up -- as well as remembering -- a complex password including numbers, letters and even special characters, is to use a mnemonic technique. So, think of the first letter of each word in a phrase or a song title, for example. Then, repeat the process for each service you sign up to online, as each password should be unique.

Where possible, you should try to opt for two-step authentication, particularly for your most important accounts (email, social media, etc.). That means an extra validation step will be needed to access your account, often via SMS, email or a specific app. Plus, two-factor authentication also means you'll be alerted to any suspicious logins to your accounts.