The 12 passwords hackers love

8 July 2016

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Remembering a million different passwords is meant to keep our devices safe and secure. But how effective actually is your password?

The 12 passwords hackers love (Desktop)

“You have input the wrong password too many times and your account has been temporarily locked. Please click here to reset your password.”

How many times a month do you come across that? It’s a familiar sight for everyone who owns a phone or a PC and has access to any digital accounts. Passwords are an essential first step to protecting ourselves against cyber criminals and prying eyes but just how effective are passwords?

It’s easy to get annoyed by password rules such as:

  • Include at least one number
  • Include at least one capital letter
  • Include one special character
  • Must not be your birthdate
  • Must not be a previous password

They force us to come up with more and more elaborate passwords, each easier to forget than the last. But what happens when we aren’t forced to pick something more complicated?

Over 35 percent of people surveyed for the UK Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign say they don’t create strong passwords because they struggle to remember them. Nearly 47 percent of these people have unsafe password habits, such as using pet names or significant dates. In total, 75% of people admiJed they don’t follow best practice when creating passwords.

In 2013, an Ars Technica reporter was able to crack 8,000 out of 16,000 encrypted passwords in just one day. The reporter had no experience of hacking, cracking or being a cyber criminal. If it’s that easy to crack encrypted passwords, then what chance do these commonly used passwords have?

Common Password infographic.png

The most commonly used passwords

If you currently use any of the passwords on the above list then read on to discover how to create a strong password.

How to create a strong password

  1. Use at least 12 characters
  2. Avoid common phrases
  3. Avoid your birthday and name
  4. Add numbers and symbols
  5. Add capital letters

Bonus tips

  1. Don’t use a Life Word

    This is a password that some people use for everything. It will make a cyber criminal’s job a lot easier

  2. Use a whole phrase

    Think of a long, memorable phrase and create an acronym of its first letters. Add numbers, symbols and capitalisation to it

Educating your staff on the best practice to creating passwords is the easiest way to help them keep your business and their personal lives safe and secure.

Get all the information you need to bolster your business with the latest in cyber security news and views. Download the HP guide to Cyber Security for Small Businesses.

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