Despite all the demands that you create a password which includes a combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols, we are all sometimes guilty of opting for convenience rather than safety.
Predictably, the 25 most used passwords of 2016 include “123456”, “qwerty” and “password”, according to a newly released list of the top 25 most common passwords last year. According to password manager Keeper, who carried out the research on 10 million passwords leaked in data breaches, more than 50% of people use a password in the Top 25 list.
However, some less predictable entries include “18atcskd2w” and “1q2w3e4r5t”. Why? Spambots are to blame. Security blogger Graham Cluley explains that these are passwords robots use when creating legions of fake accounts on forums and in comment sections, allowing them to post those annoying spam adverts. If you’ve ever had to ‘prove you are human’ by completing a short test before your account will be created, now you know why.
To create a secure password which won’t appear on next year’s Top 25 list, take note of these top tips:
- Whilst the most secure passwords are a random combination of numbers, capital and lowercase letters, if you want to choose a memorable word try making it up out of characters – e.g. ‘wimbledon’ could become ‘W1mB!3d0n’
- Another option is to create an unusual sentence and use an acronym. For example, ‘The Beatles and ABBA are my favourite bands’ could become ‘tB&AaMf3’
- Don’t reuse passwords verbatim. No matter how secure it is, if someone finds it they’ll have access to everything. Using the same basic word with random numbers on the end could help.
- It is not advisable to write down passwords in case they are discovered. However, password-protected apps exist which will allow you to store all your passwords online or on your phone in a secure way.
Top 25 most common passwords of 2016:
If you are worried about cyber threats and the risks of storing business data, talk to our cyber liability insurance advisors today.