SplashData has recently released its 2015 annual edition of the “worst password list” to create greater awareness among Internet users and boost their password security by
If we have a look at the 10 most used passwords of the year, it’s shocking to note that people are pretty casual about choosing passwords and continue to repeat the same mistakes every time. Most Internet users believe that longer passwords can provide them greater security, which is not necessarily true in the majority of the cases.
SpashData has compiled data from over 2 million passwords that were leaked last year by targeting users across North America and Western Europe. It shows how people continue to take risks with their poor choice of passwords, which are “weak” and can be easily guessed by others.
Among the 10 most used passwords of the year-“123456” and “password” continue to occupy top positions, whereas sports related theme remain an obvious choice of password among Internet users.
Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData is of the view that although users have put in their efforts to accommodate lengthy passwords with the use of more characters; it does not make much of a difference as the passwords are still based on simple patterns. This can still continue to increase the risk of passwords being hacked by unknown users.
Here is the list of the 10 most used passwords of the year:
Baseball still continues to remain a favorite password among most Internet users in the list and just dropped down by two ranks as compared to 2014. Sports related theme still reigns supreme among other choices of passwords even this year.
With more than a number of websites wanting users to choose lengthy passwords, most people have tried to use a combination of simple numbers such as 1234567 to escape hackers. As a result, this password option has climbed two spots higher than last year.
Short and sweet passwords sound nice but they can be the “worst” and most obvious choice which can be easily hacked by anyone. 1234 has occupied the 8th spot in this year’s list, but it is definitely a no-no. SplashData recommends that passwords must have a minimum of 12 characters using a unique combination of letters and numbers.
Football remains a popular sport as seen from the strong preference of password by users as it has jumped to 3 ranks higher when compared to last year.
This long combination of a password is not a good option despite being lengthy as it does not guarantee any security as it’s a more predictable pattern. Neither is it a complicated password and lacks the increased security needed for users.
There is a huge craze for choosing numerically based passwords as seen above but 12345 seems to have taken a hit this year by losing 2 spots to No.5 from last year’s No. 3 spot.
This is the first letter based and non-numerical password that occupied the No. 4 position during last year. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a safe or good choice of password either as it represents the first 6 letters from the keyboard.
Once again, the simple numerical combination of password remains the popular choice among the users. 12345678 has jumped up to the No. 3 spot this year with most people assuming that longer passwords are the safest option.
This option seems to be yet another favorite among most users and continues to remain in the No. 2 spot. It may look simple and easy to remember but it is the least secure of all other passwords. SplashData recommends the use of Password Manager to recall complex and complicated passwords by choosing this method for the convenience of Internet users.
The most popular hotspot password option is “123456” with a combination of 6 characters that was used by a maximum number of users.
Passwords that didn’t make it to the Top 10 list
The launch of the Star Wars movie at the end of the year created a craze among its audience with the presence of “ Star Wars” in the list at No. 25. “ Princess” also featured among the list somewhere at No. 21 spot. This year also saw the use of animals such as “ monkey”, “ Dragon” occupying No. 18 and No. 16 respectively as the popular choice of passwords.
Simple and effective tips for using passwords to boost their Internet security
Splashdata has recommended a few essential tips to users to help secure their passwords which are discussed below:
- Passwords or passphrases must contain at least 12 characters or more with mixed type of characters that must be used.
- It’s best to avoid repeating the use of same passwords on different websites to prevent the possibility of passwords being stolen by others.
- A password manager such as TeamID is a good option for organizing and protecting your passwords against thefts. They can help you to generate passwords randomly which can help users to login automatically to their chosen websites.
- It’s best to avoid using your favorite “sport” or “teams” as passwords. Even birthday or year of birth must not be used as passwords.
- Most people pick up baby names as passwords which are quite common and can be easily guessed by others.
- Common phrases, hobbies, activities, movie names may not be safe password option and must be avoided as far as possible.
- Avoid using common numerical patterns or sequences found on the keyboard, especially on the top or bottom rows which makes it more predictable and susceptible to hacking.
To keep your data secure and prevent identity thefts, it’s best to always choose a strong password which has a good mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers or punctuation marks. Use phrases that are not so common while choosing passwords and make sure you never write them down anywhere.