Having good passwords to your online accounts should be your top priority if you want to avoid them getting hacked. Don’t think that cybercriminals are not interested in any of your accounts – they would very much like to steal them all, even if you don’t use some of them that often. The purpose of this is a theme for another article. Right now we’re going to tell you about the passwords that were most often used in 2016. Keep them in mind the next time you’ll be creating a new account on any site.
Keeper Security, a firm that specializes in cybersecurity, have looked through 10 million passwords that became public due to data leaks of 2016, and made a list of those that people generally picked. They’re, in order of popularity, 123456, 123456789, qwerty, 12345678, 111111, 1234567890, 1234567, password, 123123, 987654321, qwertyuiop, mynoob, 123321, 666666, 18atcskd2w, 7777777, 1q2w3e4r, 654321, 555555, 3rjs1la7qe, google, 1q2w3e4r5t, 123qwe, zxcvbnm, and 1q2w3e. Should an experienced cybercriminal wish to get into one of the accounts protected by one of the aforementioned passwords, he will only need a minuscule amount of time to do so.
“123456” is actually chosen by nearly 17% of people who use the Internet. This password is not confined to just one country – this 17% comes from all over the world. Imagine that – 17% out of billions of Internet users have “123456” as their password. This basically means that potential hackers only need to know their login information. And once they get a hold of it, it’s game over.
Keeper Security are perplexed and concerned by these statistics. And the lack of operators enforcing stronger passwords is also puzzling to them. Not only that, but the study shows that passwords consistently stay the same throughout the years. There’re tons of articles on the Internet about the dangers of having a very simple password, but people either ignore it or think that their account will never get hacked. This situation may also be explained by lack of care – why protect your old account when you can always make a new one?
It should be noted that cybercriminals don’t just sit and try to guess the password – they use specialized software and hardware that can hack pretty much any account. And when it’s protected by one of the aforementioned passwords, the entire process literally takes seconds. Site owners should do their part and ask every new user to pick a password that, at the very least, has letters and numbers. The same goes for email providers and, as shown by the massive data breach that happened to Yahoo! in 2013 and 2014, for big corporations.
You have to be aware that passwords consisting of random letters also don’t guarantee the safety – there’re crackers that are based on dictionaries and programmed to discover sequential key variations, so the inevitable is only slightly delayed. If you want to lower the possibility of losing your accounts to cyber-attacks, use special characters, lowercase, uppercase and numerical characters while coming up with a password. It’s best to avoid using words from dictionary, as the right one can easily be guessed by a program that’s specifically designed with that goal in mind. You can also use various types of password managers that can help you come up with various symbol combinations.
Keeping your accounts protected is not really hard – you just have to make an effort and don’t go the easiest way. And, since you now know the most popular passwords, you’re aware of ones that should be avoided. Use your fantasy and pick a combination that no one will ever be able to crack.