When it comes to our data’s security, you’d think we’d be more careful about how we protect it, especially since that data can expose private information, cyber-secrets; data we don’t want others to know. And yet, the top position among the year’s worst passwords is still held by “123456.”
According to 2017’s chart of the most commonly-chosen passwords, which is based upon a survey of over 5 million passwords leaked by hackers, the list is pretty much predictable for anyone that’s ever looked at a similar enumeration before. The second spot is occupied by “password” while the third is a small variation of the top offender – “12345678”. Up next are “qwerty” and “12345”. The list also includes the likes of “admin”, “starwars”, “hello”, and the one that’s never going to die out – “passw0rd”.
These are the types of passwords that are easy to guess by your non-techy grandma, much more so by a hacker who does this every day.
Of course, remembering what feels like a million passwords for all the accounts you have online is unreasonable, but using this type of passwords is inexcusable. Internet users are always advised to use strong passwords, mixing upper and lower case, letters, numbers, and symbols. They’re also advised to never repeat them across accounts because they’re easier to hack in the future. Even if you have a few base ones that vary a little from one account to the other, it’s still better than using any of the passwords in this list.
A password manager may very well do the trick for all computer users because they securely store them all, while also generating passwords that are nearly impossible to guess for any new account you want to enter. Furthermore, if you want to truly secure your account, always enable two-factor authentication when possible. In this way, even if hackers may have access to your password, they don’t have access to your phone.
On the other hand, hackers wouldn’t have such a wide database of used passwords if companies did a better job securing customer data. But that’s a completely different story.
Bad passwords put your cyber-secrets at risk
What is important here is that people realize how valuable their data is and how that data equals cyber-secrets. Are you sure you want to let hackers get easy access to your emails? How about access to your Facebook messages? Or to those photos you have stored in the cloud? This is the type of data that hackers can use to blackmail you into paying them off so they don’t share it publicly. If you think that this can’t happen to you – flash news! – it can happen to anyone, and it’s something that has been happening for years. In the past couple of years, in particular, ransomware has become such a widespread phenomenon exactly because data is so important that everyone wants it to remain private and to be able to access it.
So, choose your passwords better and be safe!