Did You Change Your Passwords After a Data Breach?

Man holding smartphone using a laptop.

You got the dreaded email from a store you shop at, your healthcare provider, or even a financial institution. They’ve had a data breach. They’ve caught it, addressed it, and remedied everything on their end. You might be worried initially, but since the company appears to have a handle on the situation, you relax and let it go – many times without doing a thing, even changing your password. If you’ve been impacted by any data breach, the first step is to change your passwords.

Strong Passwords Protect Your Privacy Online

We know that 123456 isn’t a strong password. We know that a completely random string of characters is. Yet most of us fall on the spectrum of creating weak passwords. We mix numbers and letters, but they are almost never random.

When it comes to passwords, the longer and more complex, the better. Most password exposure from data breaches require that the hackers crack your password. They’ll try the most obvious passwords first, working their way through. If your password is significantly complex, the chances of anyone guessing it, even after days, weeks, and months, is slim. A strong password will protect your privacy online much better than a weak one.

Why Should You Change Your Password After a Data Breach?

While the company who notified you of the breach has addressed the security on their end, if you are like most humans, your password can give away more than just your information on one website. Plenty of us need to have several passwords for various sites, and instead of coming up with a random, complex, distinct password for each site, we use the same two or three passwords for everything from banking to online shopping to social media. If a hacker is able to grab your information and decode your password, they can use that information on other sites. If you have a valid reason to change your password – and a data breach certainly qualifies – do it right away-and make it a strong one.

If Changing Passwords is Important, Why Don’t People Do It?

One of the reasons that users don’t bother to change their password after a data breach is simply that they don’t understand why it’s necessary. They put the responsibility of addressing the data breach and their security on the company who had the breach, and not themselves. Sometimes the company won’t tell their clients to reset their passwords on their own site, let alone any other sites.

The other reason is that those who don’t use password managers struggle to keep passwords organized and complex for ourselves. We remember our password on a certain site and changing it can be difficult to adjust to, even when most websites offer a “remember me” option. So when we’re forced to change, we do the bare minimum.

There is really no excuse not to take a data breach seriously. It is important to err on the side of caution when it comes to a data breach. The best way to protect your privacy online is to quickly address it by changing your passwords. For more ideas on how to keep you and your family safe online, check out our blog for some great tips. Our knowledgeable staff can help you keep your data safe and secure. Contact AccuShred today to learn more about data protection and secure data destruction services.