passwordIf you’re like me, you will use the same passwords over and over again.  I’ve been forced to change my password a few times because of restrictions and criteria of various sites, e.g. must be alpha numeric, eight+ characters, caps, can’t re-use old passwords and so on.  So I must have about ten passwords I have to remember.  It’s not easy.  However, some people use really easy passwords.

My problem is that I have to use different login names also.  Then, I have to remember the correct login name to attach to the correct password.  That means that if I have 5 login names and 10 passwords I have 50 combinations.  Ahhh. 

But some people use very easy passwords.  Security firm, Splashdata, every year compiles a list of the most common stolen passwords.  In 2012, the most common password was ‘password’. They found that ‘123456’ moved into the number one slot in 2013.  Then they found that ‘1234567’ and ‘12345678’ and ‘123456789’ were most popular.  Even ‘adobe123’ and ‘photoshop’ were very popular.

In October 2013, Adobe had a security breach that affected 48 million users.  Weak passwords are more susceptible to brute-force attacks.  This is where hackers attempt to access accounts through rapid guessing. And when encrypted passwords are stolen, weaker ones are the first to fall to increasingly sophisticated cracking software.

So what's the answer in this increasingly sophisticated world.  Avoid using common words and phrases (Emmet, my son, has been telling me that for years).  Replacing letters with similar-looking numbers (such as ‘3’ instead of “E) is not an effective strategy either. Instead, consider using phrases of random words separated by spaces or underscores, and using different passwords, at least for your most sensitive accounts.

Now tell me that everyone already does that!

Just to keep you up to date and also to tell what NOT to use, here is the full list of BAD passwords, according to Splashdata.  Incidentally, I used to use one of those, but it’s changed now.

  1. 123456
  2. Password
  3. 12345678
  4. Qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. Iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. Admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. Letmein
  15. Photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. Monkey
  18. Shadow
  19. Sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. Princess
  23. Azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 000000

You’ve been warned.

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