Beware of the Blue Meanies
January of every year, SplashData announces its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet. The list is known as the “Worst Passwords” that will expose anybody to being hacked or having their identities stolen by the blue meanies. Well, this year is no exception. How strong is your password? Is it your cat’s name, or some other name really easy to remember? Is it just a number string? If so, you’re asking for trouble and it could cost you big time.
Strong passwords are the best defense in keeping your information safe. “123456”and “password” continue to hold the top two spots on the list since the first list in 2011. Other passwords in the top 10 include “qwerty,” “dragon,” and “football.”
SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords indicate that too many people continue to expose themselves to risks by using weak, easily guessable passwords.
Keep Names, Easy to Remember Numeric Patterns, Sports and Swear Words Out of Your Passwords
“Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”For example, “qwertyuiop,” which is the top row of letters on a standard keyboard, or “1qaz2wsx” which comprises the first two ‘columns’ of numbers and letters on a keyboard, should be avoided at all costs.
The top 25 passwords for 2014 were:
- 123456 (Unchanged from 2013)
- password (Unchanged)
- 12345 (Up 17)
- 12345678 (Down 1)
- qwerty (Down 1)
- 234567890 (Unchanged)
- 1234 (Up 9)
- baseball (New)
- dragon (New)
- football (New)
- 1234567 (Down 4)
- monkey (Up 5)
- letmein (Up 1)
- abc123 (Down 9)
- 111111 (Down 8)
- mustang (New)
- access (New)
- shadow (Unchanged)
- master (New)
- michael (New)
- superman (New)
- 696969 (New)
- 123123 (Down 12)
- batman (New)
- trustno1 (Down 1)
In reviewing 2014’s Worst Passwords list, these tips stand out:
- Avoid using a favorite sport or team as your password – “baseball” and “football” are in top 10, and “hockey,” “soccer” and “golfer” are in the top 100, and “yankees,” “eagles,” “steelers,” “rangers,” and “lakers” are all in the top 100.
- Please don’t use your birthday or especially just your birth year, that’s just asking for trouble.
- When choosing your password, don’t consult the baby name books. While they are a great source for picking baby names, they are not great as passwords. Common names such as “michael,” “jennifer,” “thomas,” “jordan,” “hunter,” “michelle,” “charlie,” “andrew,” and “daniel” are all in the top 50.
In closing, I offer three simple tips to be safer from hackers online:
- Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters.
- Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites.
- Use a password manager such as LastPass to organize and protect passwords, generate random passwords, and automatically log into websites. That’s my password manager of choice as I can sync all of my passwords on all my devices, including my cell phone. Pretty sweet, huh?
Until the next time, keep safe and stay strong!