Many of us are lazy about our passwords. We are lazy, we are complacent and we are highly likely to be hacked. This does not mean that some spotty faced genius teenager wearing an ‘anonymous’ mask is hiding in a dimly lit cellar, spending all his days cracking codes just to get into your online Wish shopping account or your secret Tinder profile. This scenario is possible but the reality is actually a lot more sinister than that! There is now computer software designed specifically to decipher and publicise your precious passwords. A computer that never tires of trying all the computations of birthday dates and obvious words to find the secret key to your life. A weak and obvious password can leave your emails, bank details and personal information at the mercy of unscrupulous hackers.
Quite apart from the computerised password thief, there is a very real danger that using the same email and password for every account, from Pinterest to online banking is giving your details away. Low security sites with access to your details may inadvertently be receiving the very same details needed for more secure information. You need a unique password for each account you log into. If this sounds like too much trouble, you need to seriously weigh the effort up against the horrors of identity theft.
Despite the risks, the vast majority of people do not give a second thought to their password choices. It appears as if the main criteria for choosing is ease of remembering and (rather pathetically) the proximity of the tiles on the keyboard. Sequential keyboard action, such as 12345, is an oft chosen requirement in the most hackable passwords.
Let’s take a look at the most popular, and therefore most obviously breached passwords in the world and take a salutary lesson in online security.
Boom! The most used password in the world. Don’t start using it unless you want to lose your privacy. A computer programme will crack this baby instantly, so be wise. Try something a little smarter. But you need to be very smart. According to the site, www.howsecureismypassword.net. The seemingly respectable password, ‘orpheus37!’ Will take an estimated one month for any self-respecting hacking software to decipher. However if you get really creative, and chose something like ‘pigswilltime2078’ you take the code cracking time up to an estimated 6 million years.
The second most chosen password in the world is ‘password’. Duh! I have no doubt that, like some worn out oft repeated joke, using ‘password’ as a password is thought of as the height of irony and humour by some. Computers don’t get irony. Hackers don’t get humour. It’s a no brainer people. Choose something more exotic, more cryptic and less likely to cause you grief. Check out the strength of your choice of passwords at this site. www.passwordmeter.com. The ironically hilarious, ‘password’ password gets an 8% score and is very weak while ‘ExplodingSpuds2’ is an 83% strong choice.
For the most unimaginative amongst us, a quick finger dance across the number tiles on the keyboard, gives the iconic ‘12345678’ password. Yeah, you guessed it! Another gift to hackers , waiting to help themselves to bank details and a wealth of private information. If you are creatively challenged and cannot think of any alternatives, then finger dance along to www.random.org/passwords/ . This site generates some tough password computations, such as pQZXXJAg and R9cPZkVh. Totally safe and secure. Now your only problem is remembering them!
Another lot of lazy keyboard gliding gives us three passwords that represent the fourth, fifth and sixth most used/unsafe passwords in the world. Come on guys! Be original. Be secure. Get a unique, yet memorable password from here: www.warpconduit.net/password-generator
The seventh most used password in the world is ‘Letmein’. And the answer is Yes! We will let you in! In fact, we will let everyone in. What the password ‘Letmein’ does though, is introduce us to the ‘passphrase’ rather than the password. An ideal way of remembering good strong codes, when passwords fail and a good way to foil the hackers. its a clever way of thinking of a much longer password. Dictionary words and names are not restricted, and you can be 15 characters long. So a line from a poem, quote from a book, song lyric or a movie are all ideal.
Number Eight in the most used passwords, is another obvious numerical sequence, Low security, high risk. Low creativity, high chance of being breached online! You know what to do!
The password ‘football’ is number nine in password popularity and while we don’t know the gender balance for usage, it is inconsequential as it is easily hacked for and by everyone. It is never a good idea to put anything personal in your password. This includes hobbies, place names, your obsession with teapots or your pet names. It is never wise to use birthday years as there are only 2000 numbers computations for the computer software to play with and security will soon be breached. “Nothing too obvious” is a good maxim and possibly a good password if you throw in a few ampersands and exclamation marks to fool the hacking software!
Oh we are a romantic bunch! We have made ‘iloveyou’ the tenth most hackable, guessable and accessible password in the world. Time for some self-love.
Love your own privacy. Love your own security, Review your passwords regularly. Choose high strength passwords and pass phrases. Have a unique password for each account. Stay safe and use some creative mischief to invent user friendly passwords that keep your personal log in’s more secure.