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If your password is on this list you need to change it now

Some terrible password examples include people’s favourite names or the names of people close to them (such as Eva, Alex, Anna, Max, Ava, Ella, and Leo).

Computer display requiring password access. — Image © Tim Sandle
Computer display requiring password access. — Image © Tim Sandle

Using a common passwords could put you at risk from being hacked or falling for a cyber-scam. The problem is recalling the growing number of passwords that the typical person is required to use.

These days, more and more websites and apps require us to create passwords. Whilst we know they should not be easy to guess, for the sake of convenience we often choose passwords that are simple to remember.

Trevor Cooke, the online privacy expert at EarthWeb tells Digital Journal about the passwords that make us most vulnerable to online criminals.

This comes in the context of 66 percent of small businesses stating they have experienced a cyberattack in the last twelve months. While organisations are invariably selected by criminals, it is often individuals who prove to be easier targets.

Rather than going to the trouble of breaching firewalls and other defence mechanisms when trying to defraud a business, to take advantage criminals may simply need to hack a weak password. Once they have this, they can access accounts and wreak havoc.

Common Number Combinations

Examinations of data breaches where people’s personal information was leaked highlights weak passwords as the primary reason for the breach happening. Some of the most common passwords involved were identified simple, easy-to-remember number combinations like 111111, 12345, 123456, 12345678, 123456789, and 1234567890.

Other number-related examples include Qwerty123, 1q2w3e, and Q2w3e4r5t. Using a date of birth is also frequent, and using your personal birth date as your password is doubly problematic as this gives hackers another key piece of information about you that they can use to access your accounts.

Common Words Used

Some major examples include people’s favourite names or the names of people close to them (such as Eva, Alex, Anna, Max, Ava, Ella, and Leo) and top sports teams (including Suns, Heat, and Liverpool). Others use curse words, cities (like Rome and Lima), and days and seasons (Friday, summer, and winter as examples). People also commonly mention food (words like ice, tea, pie, cookie, and cake).

Other weak passwords include terms like admin, Qwerty, welcome, Password, Password1, or p@ssw0rd. These are extremely common and very easy to guess and put the user at significant risk.

How To Create Strong Passwords

Short passwords are easier to guess, so the longer the better. Each one should contain letters (in upper and lower case), numbers, and a symbol. Cooke explains: “The safest approach is to use a password generator combined with a password manager. Some of the best password generators include LastPass, KeePass, NordPass, RoboForm, and Dashlane”.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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