128: Why should I change my password?

SOLUTION
Computer users often say that they don't need strong passwords since they have "nothiing in their accounts anyway." But cyber-criminals know differently. A compromised password gives someone else access to at least some features of your identity and can lead to identity theft, loss of money, or worse. 

Cyber-criminals put a lot of effort into learning your passwords. These criminals use many techniques, like:

  • shoulder surfing -- looking over your shoulder and watching you type your password or PIN
  • social engineering -- talking you into giving over your password by claiming to be a systems administrator, manager, or other person of authority
  • sniffing -- monitoring networks, keyboards, phone lines, or any other device that my carry your password
  • guessing -- useing a dictionary program to try different passwords until they find one that matches
  • research -- looking in your social-networking sites, trash cans, office files, other web pages for dates, names of children, pets, hobbies, or any other personal information, and building a profile of possible passwords that you may have used
  • Post-Its -- looking for that Post-It note under your keyboard or on your monitor where you hand your password to anyone in the vicinity
  • mistake -- you accidentally typed a password into the wrong system andyou are (rightfully) concerned that someone on that system can track the password back to an account at Mines.

Given the wide variety of ways that a criminal might learn your passwords, CCIT recommends that all users change their passwords at least every six months. If you haven't changed it in that time ... you're now due!

CCIT also recommends taking the time to pick a new, random, long (>10 characters) password unrelated to other passwords you may have used in the past.

NOTES
Since March 2015, your most-used Mines computer accounts have been consolidated under a login called "MultiPass." To change your email, Trailhead, Windows login, Linux login, and a few other account passwords simultaneously, visit https://identity.mines.edu.

AUTHOR
DF

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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15