With the news that 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords leaked in 2012 and internet security breaches are commonplace in 2023, the simple answer is YES. However, simply changing your password doesn’t solve the underlying problem without an increase in the password complexity and frequency of password changes. Yes, this means we all have to remember more complex passwords and change them more frequently, but in the long run, more secure passwords will keep your confidential information safe.
Keep in mind that a more complex password can be the difference between passwords being hacked in a few minutes to several years. Recently the largest password leak in history was the “Collection #1” data breach in January 2019, which exposed over 772 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords. The data was compiled from various sources and was made available for download on hacker forums. This breach highlighted the importance of using strong, unique passwords and enabling two-factor authentication for online accounts. Consequently, if you’re going through a divorce, it is critical that all passwords are changed to assure that your communication and private information is not disclosed to the opposing party.
With this in mind, here are a few tips and some simple password policies that can reduce the likelihood of a hacker or your spouse from guessing your password.
What to do:
- Increase Password complexity:
- The most critical part of a password policy is the level of complexity required for each password. I would recommend increasing the passwords to 12 characters which dramatically increases the amount of time it takes a hacker to programmatically guess your password. Also, include at least one special character (e.g. $, @, etc), one capital letter and numbers.
- Set a Maximum Password Age:
- Passwords should be changed every 1 to 3 months depending on the complexity of your password. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend changing passwords monthly.
- Enable Password History:
- Never reuse old passwords as they can be easily hacked by a savvy programmer as you’ll be giving them more time to decrypt with the same password.
- Use Two Factor Authentication or Two Step Authentication:
- This is an additional layer of security in case your password is stolen or leaked. This option uses a 3rd party tool that provides a unique number as an additional verifying when logging in or you can select the SMS to receive the unique code via your cell phone.
- Make your password longer & more memorable:
- Increase the number of characters to 12 and consider using a phrase such as a poem, title of a book or movie, quote and make it meaningful so that you remember it. For example, use a quote from Tony Robbins “If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.” replacing some characters with symbols, numbers, capital letters and more such as “1Fy0Uc@nTy0Umu$T” or “1Fy0Umu$TyOuc@N.”
What NOT to do (“How safe is your password,” 2023):
- Don’t use a password that is listed as an example of how to pick a good password.
- Don’t use a password that contains personal information.
- Don’t use words or acronyms that can be found in a dictionary.
- Don’t use keyboard patterns (asdf) or sequential numbers (1234).
- Don’t make your password all numbers, uppercase letters or lowercase letters.
- Don’t use repeating characters.
- Don’t write down your password
- Don’t send your password via email, messenger or any other form of electronic communication
- Don’t common words or patterns
Sample passwords (DO NOT USE SAMPLES):
As you can see there is more to passwords and securing your information than you probably had previously considered. However, if you apply these tips in an effort to secure your accounts in regard to everyday life and when filing for divorce, your private information is less likely to be hacked.
How safe is your password? (2023). Retrieved February 07, 2023, from https://accounts.google.com/PasswordHelp
Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.
Last Updated on April 21, 2023 by Ramos Law Group, PLLC