We have all been trained to rotate our passwords on a regular basis, but this strategy is often more of a hindrance than an aid to cybersecurity. The reality is that password rotations can actually create significant security risks and it’s far better to have strong unique passwords combined with multifactor authentication instead.
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to log in to your work computer and you can’t remember your password. You try again, and again, and then you finally give up and reset it. Sound familiar? This is a common occurrence for many of us who have been trained to rotate our passwords on a regular basis. It’s easy to understand why this can be frustrating, but what you may not know is that password rotation can actually be a significant security risk for any business. Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case and how businesses can better protect themselves from cyber threats.
The Problem with Password Rotations
First and foremost, it’s important to understand why rotating your password isn’t just ineffective, it can actually make you less secure. The problem is that when people are forced to rotate their passwords every few months or so, they tend to take the path of least resistance by simply changing one or two characters in their existing password. This makes the new password easier to remember for the user but it also means that hackers who have already breached your system, or have come across a previously used password, can easily guess what your new password might be. What’s worse, if you’re like most people, you probably use the same pattern for all of your accounts – making you vulnerable to a “credential stuffing” attack as well.
Why Strong Passwords Matter
Rather than relying on password rotation for security, it’s far better to use strong unique passwords for each account. This means using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – not just words from the dictionary that could be guessed by an automated attack program. Additionally, make sure that your passwords are not related in any way; don’t use variations on a single theme (such as “password1” then “password2”). Finally – if you’re really serious about security – consider using passphrases instead of traditional passwords; they are much harder for attackers to guess. Check out our blog on how to create a strong password. If you are worried about trying to remember all of your strong unique passwords, we recommend using a password manager like NordPass or one of the ones on this list: The Best Password Managers for 2023.
The Importance of Multifactor Authentication
No matter how strong your passwords may be, there’s still no substitute for two-factor or multifactor authentication (MFA). This is an additional layer of security that requires users to provide something else besides just their username and password when logging into an account; this could be anything from entering in a code sent via text message or email to scanning one’s fingerprint or facial recognition before being granted access. MFA makes it significantly harder for hackers to gain access to accounts since even if they do manage to guess a user’s password they will still need access to another device or biometric scanner in order to gain access; this dramatically reduces the odds of successful attacks occurring.
Password rotations may seem like a simple solution for keeping accounts secure but in reality they can actually create more problems than they solve due to how easy it is for attackers to guess new passwords based off old ones. It’s far better instead to focus on strong unique passwords combined with multifactor authentication whenever possible; while no defense is perfect these steps can go a long way towards protecting yourself against potential threats online!