As ID theft and cyber-crime become increasing threats to UK householders, it might come as something of a surprise to learn that the entry point to a significant amount of our personal information (be it online banking and shopping, insurance, accessing private files on our laptops and tablets, email addresses, social networking, dating etc…) is not quite as Fort Knox-like as many of us might have otherwise imagined.
Yes, passwords are imperative in the on-going fight against cyber-attacks being launched on our everyday (and increasingly virtual) lives, and as we’re constantly reminded, creating a strong one can prove an invaluable weapon in thwarting the technologically-persuasive (and overly opportunistic) advances of the unscrupulous out there.
Apparently not all of us are paying as much attention to the overriding need to think up a protective password which can restrict the movements of praying eyes and quick fingers, intent on plundering our worldly assets, of which we increasingly choose to store online today.[/nav-text]
According to a recent survey by password management firm www.splashdata.com, a concerning number of Brits still don’t get the importance of creating an imaginative (yet more vitally, secure) alphanumerical means of sole access to our online accounts and activities; instead opting for combinations which they find easier to remember.
There’s really no excuse, as we can all scribble down more complex (and code-unbreakable) passwords on a piece of paper (we know, old school) and squirrel them away somewhere to recall if we do become a bit absent minded from time to time.
What’s that old adage about a fool and their money becoming quickly parted?
Breachable passwords make cyber criminals’ jobs that much easier
Nobody is suggesting we come up with codes more challenging than the Enigma, just slightly more unique to you than ‘123456’ (yes, we’re not making this up) or ‘password’ (the joke will end up on the creator in this case we think).[one-half]
Although we’re mostly told that passwords are (and indeed, should be) derived from our birthdays or the names of deceased family pets, the truth of the matter is people often don’t have the time (or sentimental default setting) to conjure up the latter if they’re put on the spot.
Yet even if time (or creativity levels) are at a premium at that specific juncture, we should all think a bit longer and harder than what the great British public are seemingly doing right now.[/one-half] [one-half-last] [box color=”grey”]
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Every 12 months SplashData sets out to put together a list of the most popular passwords, which for its part has legitimately sourced from the public disclosure of stolen passwords. These ‘leaked’ passwords really do beggar belief though year on year, when rather than being confronted by impossible to decipher series’ of random letters, digits and symbols we are instead exposed to the most guessable collection of simplistic word and number patterns that would embarrass your average 5-year old. And serves as circumstantial evidence as to why the password owner’s private accounts were so easily compromised in the first place.
The top 10 worst passwords – in terms of breachability – are listed below (along with their places last year ), so if you do recognize a familiar alphanumerical combo, you may want to alter it quick smart.
Out of interest – and lurking just outside of the big 10 – ‘letmein’ (number 19) and ‘login’ (number 20) reiterate the lack of imagination deployed by many folk, while more themed passwords have put in an appearance of late too. Not least passwords derived from Star Wars and including; ‘master’ (17), ‘princess’ (21), ‘solo’ (23) and ‘star wars’ itself (25).
Top 10 worst passwords
- 123456 – unchanged from 2014
- password – unchanged
- 12345678 – up 1 place on previous year
- qwerty – moving up 1 place
- 12345 – down 2 spots
- 123456789 – remains unchanged from 2014
- football – up 3
- 1234 – down 1 position
- 1234567 – up 2
- baseball – down 2
Best password managers
With all the online accounts we need to create and manage these days – social networks, email accounts, shopping accounts, online banking etc… – it’s no wonder people are struggling to come up with secure passwords.
Throw into the mix the requirements of many online passwords to include random mixes of capital letters, alpha-numeric characters and different amounts of characters and it’s understandable that a lot of us revert to the most simple system we can think of in order to remember them all.
Help is out there, though, in the form of password managers. These systems will keep a secure record of all your passwords, and can even sync them across all of your devices so they are always on hand.
Of course, you wouldn’t entrust something as important as your passwords to any old system so we’ve identified the very best, independently rated password managers below for you to try out: