At my recent “Privacy, Safety and Digital Reputation” for parents seminar I discussed passwords, and the importance of keeping them complex to deter hackers. Imagine my shock then, when the very next day, I stumbled upon this Huffington Post article, “Yep, The Most Common Passwords of 2013 Are Kind Of Idiotic.” Basically, this article shared the annual ranking of most common passwords used by people online, as compiled by SplashData. Scroll down to view the full list.
Do any of these passwords look familiar? Are they what you type in each time you check your email? Do your banking? Log into Facebook or other social media accounts? I sincerely hope not!
Now of course no matter how strong your password, you can never guarantee that hackers won’t still find a way in, but it can definitely reduce your risks. Think of it as having a double-lock front door with a chain and security screen, versus leaving the door closed but unlocked. If a burglar wanted to get through the double-lock front door with a chain and security screen they would find a way, but it would be impossible for some to figure out, and deter many others.
So please, make the effort to have a double-lock front door with a chain and security screen password… use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Resist the temptation to use your birthday, your name, your pets name or the name of the program you are creating an account for (ie Gmail123 for a gmail account). Bear in mind that amongst other things, hacking software scans through all words in the dictionary, they also scan for words in the dictionary that have had some characters replaced with symbols (ie hacking software would pick up both the password “apple” and also “@pple.”
Also, don’t forget – keep the passwords to you most important accounts (ie your bank account, email account, etc) different to one another. Imagine if you had the same key for your front door, office door, safe, diary padlock… if someone got hold of that key then they would have access to so much more than if you had different keys for each. Same goes for passwords.
The full list is as follows: