Most Common and Popular Passwords
Spoiler: This isn’t a popularity contest that you want to win.
Did you know that at least 60% of people whose login credentials were leaked last year in data breaches reuse passwords across multiple accounts? It’s true. Even more shockingly, of that 60%, almost all of those people were using the exact same password. A few users, 3%, added numbers at the end or incorporated a capital letter for negligible complexity. Even these simple efforts decreased their risk, a bit.
That said, why should you care when keeping track of multiple passwords is such a nuisance? If your credentials are exposed in a breach, password reuse makes it easy for fraudsters and hackers to use that information to access other, more valuable, accounts. If your data has been exposed in a breach, it’s critical that you change the password for that site and any others that use it.
Now, password reuse isn’t the only thing to avoid when protecting your accounts online. Password complexity is also critical. Simple passwords take no time for bad actors to crack. Is one of your reused passwords “Password1” or “qwerty123” or even “aaron431”? Fraudsters have your password. They know it, they love it, and they capitalize on your negligence to take over unsuspecting users’ accounts. If so, do not pass go, and do not collect $200.
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Maybe your password isn’t one of the above… you may not be in the clear. Let’s take a look at common passwords to avoid:
Variations of alphabet strings and sequential numbers are easy to remember and VERY common passwords. Other common numerical passwords are “1234567890” and “aaaaaa”. Criminals use special software to cycle through passwords like this in their attempts to take over online accounts.
Football, Dragon, or Pokemon
Using a favorite hobby as a password may make accessing your Netflix account easier for your family members, but if you’re also sharing how much you love the Seattle Seahawks every Sunday… you may need to update those credentials. Using a passphrase is a good alternative for incorporating hobbies into your login. Wanna learn how to write a better password? Check out this blog post to see how easy it can be.
Many of us use passwords at work and school that are set up by IT professionals. Please change these passwords, they are intended to be changed immediately. Typically, these folks are responsible for setting up accounts for many people at a time, and the chance that they use the same password for everyone is pretty high. Taking the time to change it can keep you and your work safe.
Using an easy-to-remember password, that potentially millions of other people also rely on, is risky. “Sourdoughlover” may seem cute, but after the sourdough boom of 2020, 500 other accounts leaked in data breaches used the word “sourdough” in their password. These types of commonalities mean fraudsters could hack your bank account after a quick scroll of your Instagram or Facebook feed. Changing common or popular passwords is one of the first ways to protect your accounts online. Having the right tools can make it easier. Check out this blog post to see how you can incorporate a password manager into your daily life.