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signs your passwords are compromised
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Security & privacy

4 ways to know you should change your passwords

You should change your passwords every three months. Wait too long, and hackers might crack the code. However, cybercriminals work quickly, so you need to look for other signs that it’s time to change your passwords.

After this tip, you’ll know all the signs of a compromised password. As a result, you’ll be able to act quickly when things go bad. Tap or click here for the five biggest cybersecurity threats you should know about.

Just make sure you pick a new password that will be difficult to crack. We’ll help you create new ones that stump hackers. Here are four ways to know when you should change your password.

1. A data breach exposed your private information

Cybercriminals attack businesses, schools and even hospitals daily. There’s no site they won’t go after. According to Krebs on Security, hospital data breaches are tied to a rise in fatal heart attacks.

All of this is to say that malicious data leaks are relentless. You shouldn’t underestimate them. Keep an ear out for tech news and take cybersecurity threats seriously.

Act quickly if you hear that a site or service you use suffered a security breach. Hackers may already have posted your password onto the Dark Web. Change your passwords — even if you use different passwords for different sites.

Not sure where to look for cybersecurity news? We’ve got you covered. Use this free tool to find out if your passwords were exposed.

2. Random login texts are signs you should change your passwords

We rely on verification codes to protect our identities. If you use two-factor authentication (2FA), you expect these codes when logging into a site or service. Here’s where things get tricky. Scammers want to fool you with fake 2FA codes. So if you get a verification code you didn’t request, you could be in danger.

Of course, it’s hard to distinguish between trustworthy 2FA codes and fakes. As always, we can help. Here’s what to do when you get verification codes you didn’t ask for.

3. You fell for a scam or phishing email

We all get phishing emails. They masquerade as trusted sites and services. It’s easy to fall for them if you don’t know how they work.

Let’s say you get an email claiming you need to update your password. Check the email address to make sure it’s authentic. Then, open a new window and go to the official website to see if you need to update your credentials.

The extra step may seem like a pain, but it’s worth it. If you click on a link in a phishing email, your cybersecurity is in danger. Change your password ASAP. Otherwise, hackers could take over your digital life.

4. Did you share your credentials?

If you’re using a password manager, the access code should always be a mystery to the rest of the world. Never share it with anyone. So if you ever gave the code to someone else, we have bad news.

You need to update every single password inside the manager. Otherwise — you guessed it! Bad guys could compromise all of your accounts.

We all need to create strong, unique, hard-to-crack passwords. The problem is they’re hard to remember. That’s why using a password manager is a good idea, as long as you don’t make the mistake of sharing its code. Tap or click here to find out how password managers can make your life easier.

Create strong passwords that will stump hackers

Here are a few rules of thumb when making passwords:

  • Use all types of characters: That includes letters with alternating capitalization, numbers and symbols like exclamation marks or asterisks.
  • Think of phrases: Come up with a unique phrase, like a line from a song. Replace letters with numbers and symbols. This way, you can remember the password while stumping bad guys.
  • Use different passwords for each account: It’s tempting to reuse passwords. But that puts your important accounts at risk. If a hacker cracks your password on one account, they have access to all your accounts that share the compromised password.
  • Lie through your teeth: Don’t answer security questions honestly. If a site asks you to enter your first pet’s name to prove your identity when logging in, pick something fake. Otherwise, social engineering schemes could help scammers to break into your account. Just make sure you remember your fake answers!

Now that you know the most significant signs it’s time to change your passwords, share the wealth. Scams tend to tick up during the holiday season. Share this tip with friends and family so they stay safe and wrap up 2022 on a good note!

Keep reading

Here’s what adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry does

Five subtle clues that email is really a clever phishing scam

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