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IRS Suggests Password Standards

Combat Identity Theft with Stronger Password Systems

Innumerable articles underscore the need for keeping unique, rotating passwords for every online account: email, social media, gaming, video streaming services, and the like. Short of using password management software to generate random passwords, a combination of numbers, letters (both upper- and lower- case), and special characters should reduce the chance that your accounts will be compromised. 

As part of their Security Awareness Tax Tip series aiming to combat identity theft, the IRS today announced a stronger password initiative for 2016. If any of the online services you use implement complexity requirements for account passwords, then some of these strategies might seem familiar:

  • 8+ character alphanumeric passwords 
  • Timed lockouts and a limited number of unsuccessful attempts
  • 3+ security questions
  • PIN verification sent via email or text message

The IRS urges tax professionals to implement similar standards for all of their online accounts - compiling more information on password and account security at the "Taxes. Security. Together" webpage and in Publication 4524.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

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