People’s lives have moved online. They watch TV and videos on PCs and smartphones. They do their banking and buy almost everything they use on e-commerce sites like Amazon. People do not write letters anymore. They use programs like Word and email. They store photos and personal videos in the cloud. Some even buy cars without visiting a dealership. One thing all of these activities have in common is that they require a password.
The nature of passwords means people’s accounts can be broken into. The largest hacks involve millions of records when a company is hacked. This happened to Playstation customers in 2011. It has become a major risk of life online.
One risk of being hacked is that people often use passwords that are easy to break. Some passwords are unusually common and therefore particularly easy to hack. These often involve common names and sets of numbers.
CyberGhost recently released a study titled “The Worst Passwords in the Last Decade (And New Ones You Shouldn’t Use)”.
The primary conclusion of the research was “Many passwords believed to be deeply personal to you are, in fact, quite common – making them easier to crack – and they could be putting you at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals.” Another conclusion was that over eight out of ten hacks are based on weak passwords. Finally, people often use the same password across all of their online accounts.
The study listed the most common passwords by category. These included numbers, names, variations of the word “password”, keyboard-based passwords, passwords taken from movie titles, names from animals and pets, names of professional sports teams, names of car brands, names of technologies, names of games. names of celebrities, events, names of politicians, words from nature, expletives, and food, colors, and locations.
Many of these passwords are astonishingly easy to guess. They include “123456”, “password”, “starwars” and “Football”.
Taken together, the data from the study show that people are fools when it comes to protecting themselves online.