I’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating: using “password” as your password is not a good idea.
“Password”, “123456”, and the ever more secure “12345678” are the most used passwords of 2011 according to a recent report from security provider SlashData. Hackers love simple passwords, and it seems we’re making it easy for them. According to the report, sequential characters such as qwerty and 123456 are popular choices, as well as names of children and pets. Other choices such as “dragon” or “superman” are harder to explain, but may come from objects or images in the vicinity of the user. As websites require passwords to contain numbers and letters, it makes sense that we’re seeing abc123 and trustno1 on the list as well.
SplashData has compiled this list based on millions of passwords posted to the Internet by hackers:
Weak passwords can lead to your email account being used to send out viruses, identity theft, and fraud. If you are using any of these passwords, you’ll want to get busy changing them as soon as possible. Some tips I like to use to create secure passwords:
- Take an easy to remember word, name, or event and change at least two letters to numbers or symbols. For example: Samantha could be S@man+ha.
- Make your passwords 8 characters or more. You can even join two or three short words with the use of an underscore, a dash, or a plus symbol.
- Try to vary your passwords on different sites. If one password is cracked, you don’t want all of your accounts to be vulnerable.
- Consider using an application to keep track of your passwords. TOAST.net has been using Password Safe internally for some time with good results. You update the application with passwords for different sites, and it enters the password automatically.
5 Steps for Safe Computing