Hey, Is This Your Password?
According to a study that was just released, there's a 40 percent chance that any hacker could guess your password without breaking a sweat. Read on to find out if you're using one of the 25 most common (and easily guessed) passwords, and how to create strong, secure passwords that can't be hacked...
Is Your Password Protecting You?
Mark Burnett is an IT security consultant who says "I love writing about passwords." He's even written a 177-page book entitled, "Perfect Passwords." Somehow, Burnett has amassed a collection of over 6 million usernames and passwords (legitimately, I presume). In short, Mark Burnett is something of an authority on passwords.
In massaging his password data, Burnett found that people are basically lazy and stupid. They keep choosing the simplest, most obvious passwords over and over again. Here are some interesting facts gleaned from Burnett's data:
Unbelievably, 4.7% of users have the password "password". In the "Not Much Better" category, about 10% are using either "password", 12345, 123456, 1234567, or (can you guess the next one?). Fourteen percent have a password from the top 10 passwords; 40% have a password from the top 100 passwords; and 91% have a password from the top 1000 passwords.
And in case you're wondering whether your password falls into the "Lazy and Stupid" category, here are Burnett's top 25 most common passwords:
These 25 passwords are used by about 40 per cent of users, according to Burnett. That's pretty shocking, don't you think? Hackers know these facts as well as security consultants do, if not better. Given a 40% chance of cracking your password in just 25 guesses, a hacker has things pretty easy. If any of your passwords are on this list, you had better change them immediately.
Time To Change Your Password
Recently, Russian hackers obtained over six million LinkedIn passwords, and posted them online. Other popular sites, Last.FM and eHarmony have also been affected. So now is a REALLY good time to change your passwords, and to make sure they are secure enough.
You should also be aware that using the same login and password for all your online accounts is a bad idea. If just one of them is compromised, you've handed over the keys to your kingdom. Imagine the damage that someone could do if they had the login credentials for your email, your Facebook account, and your online banking. Now think how much worse it could get if they also had the keys to your online backup, where all your personal files are stashed away.
Now I understand that you want a password that you can remember, and you don't want to be bothered with typing a long string of nonsense every time you login to a website. And yes, it's a hassle to maintain different passwords for all the online services you use. But secure passwords for all your online accounts is a must.
Fortunately, you don't need a 24-character password composed of hieroglyphic characters. A memorable phrase, or at least 12-character password will protect you quite well. And there are tools to help you generate and manage secure passwords that you don't even have to remember.
Have you been hacked because of a weak password? What's your password strategy? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jun 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Hey, Is This Your Password? (Posted: 13 Jun 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved