Do you need to change your Gmail password?

Earlier this week, an archive containing nearly five million Gmail addresses and plain text passwords were posted on a Russian Bitcoin forum.

Google spokesperson stated the company has “no evidence that our systems have been compromised,” and security experts seem to agree that the passwords are either old passwords obtained through phishing, or are passwords that were instead used on other sites.

Although this dump is probably just a collection of old passwords belonging to minor sites, it brings up a major issue: password recycling.

Are you a password recycler?

If you reuse the same password on more than one site, a breach of any site with that password can be a breach of every site with that password.

Remember, the best thing you can do to safeguard your security is to never recycle your passwords.

You can breathe easy knowing your Gmail was probably not impacted by the leak but it also means you should be evaluating your account security settings. The safest thing for you to do following this leak is change your Gmail password today, as well as any other services that might use the same password.

Keep in mind the following tips when choosing a new password:

  • Use a passphrase. Passphrases are typically longer than “traditional” passwords and are a series of words that create a phrase (normally containing 20-30 characters). A good passphrase is difficult for computers to guess, but easy for humans to remember. For example: correct horse battery staple.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on services that provide it, including Gmail.
  • Choose unique passwords for every online account that you have. We recommend using a password manager to help keep things organized (our favorites are 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, and RoboForm).

It’s important to remember…

When it comes to password strength and account security, being proactive about your security settings is the best way to fend off a potential hack. It will only take a few minutes of your time to make the adjustments we’ve mentioned here. But we guarantee it can help save you a ton of time, stress, and money.

Now, go change your password and tell your coworkers, family, and friends why they should never reuse a password. Ever. You’ll end up looking like a smarty-pants (in a good way) and help everyone keep their personal information from getting into the wrong hands.

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