GBM Poll: How Often Do You Change Your Password?

picture-14The other day I dropped a computer off at the local repair shop because it was under warranty.  After verbally asking for my contact information and email address, the attending technician asked, “What’s the password on this machine?”  I answered audibly, without considering who was around me.  There were at least two other people within earshot.  This made me wonder among our GBM readers, how often do you change your password?

Many organizations and schools require that passwords be changed every few months.  The local university where I’m taking graduate classes requires that passwords be changed every 180 days.  The new password that you create cannot be any previous password that has been used.  Like many, I’ve lately fallen into the trap of adding numbers onto the end of the same password.

Here are a few common sense password tips to consider:

  • Use different passwords for different web sites.
  • Write down your password and store it in a safe, secure location.
  • Change your password periodically.
  • Do not use common words, phrases, dates, or names.
  • Include and mix characters other than letters and numbers if possible.
  • Never share your password via insecure communication methods.
  • Share your password with nobody, even those emails that look official and demand you reply or else.

Check out Google’s Gmail password tips here.  Yahoo e-mailers can check out Yahoo’s Security Center for password protection information.  Hotmail users can check out these tips to create solid and secure passwords as well as setting their passwords to expire every 72 days.

Social networking sites are not exempt from the same password problems.  Here are a few resources to examine if you’re into the online social scene.  The following sites provide a wealth of information, tips, and links to additional software that can help protect you while online:

What password tips do you suggest?  Leave your password securing expertise in the comments to help others fortify their information.