Following the numerous data breaches that took place in 2014, one would expect people to be more concerned about online security. However, according to SplashData’s Annual “Worst Passwords” list, people are as negligent with their passwords as they have ever been. In 2014, 3.3 million passwords were hacked, and a report from SplashData is here to help you stay away from that number with some dos and don’ts.
A bad password is defined as an easy target for hackers or identity thieves, such as number sequences and pet names. This year, “123456” and “password” remained in the top of the list. Top 10 revealed easy words like “qwerty,” “dragon,” and “football” as passwords preferred by an overwhelming majority.
Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData is shocked how weak passwords based on obvious patterns are still popular among so many users. As long as it’s a pattern password, you should not be using it. Even though more and more websites require longer passwords and combinations (letters, numbers, special characters), that does not mean it makes them stronger, if you’re still using keyboard patterns, such as “1qaz2wsx” (which is the first two columns of numbers and letters on the keyboard) or “qwertyuiop” (which is the top row of letters).
The top 100 list revealed that swear words are a favorite among many users. Also, very easily guessed words like “keyboard,” “monkey,” and “baseball” put a lot of accounts at risk. The most unsettling thing remains the fact that people are consistent with their bad passwords from one year to another, and 2014 was no exception. However, last year showed the lowest percentage of people using bad passwords in recent years, which is somewhat encouraging.
A trick that people should be using more, but which they are still afraid of, is coming up with unique, varied and hard-to-remember passwords. Yes, you heard me. Hard-to-remember to the point where you actually don’t know them, using a password manager to do all the remembering instead. It’s the safest method of not getting your e-mail or PayPal account hacked in no time.
The dumbest password and the most dangerous to use is your birthdate, especially your birth year. You would be surprised to see how many people still use their children’s names as passwords, turning them into sitting ducks for any kid with a computer.
The best you could do is to avoid using the same username/password combination to more than one of your accounts. Organizing and saving passwords in special password managers is quite easy to do, and they can also generate random passwords for you to use.
Image Source: Tested