Axiom News

What is in a Password?

24 Jan 2017

It’s that time of the year again folks when security experts release the most commonly-used passwords of the previous year and, needless to say, it makes for some discouraging reading.

 

What is a password?

 

A secret word or phrase that must be used to gain admission to a place

or

A string of characters that allows access to a computer, interface, or system

 

Passwords should be impenetrable, they should be hard to guess, they should be hard to decode and they should really not appear on the list below!

Keeper, a commercial password manager and digital vault, have examined over 10 million passwords that were released to the public following cyber security breaches in 2016, and discovered that rather depressingly a whopping 17% of those passwords were ‘12345’.

 

If you think that is bad let’s see what the top 10 most used passwords of last year were:

  1. 12345

  2. 123456789

  3. qwerty

  4. 12345678

  5. 111111

  6. 1234567890

  7. 1234567

  8. password

  9. 123123

  10. 987654321

 

Compared to the list released for 2015, and despite all of the increased media attention on cyber security, we still use our passwords which are clearly not well thought out.

The worrying thing about these statistics is that it is clear people’s habits are not changing. They remain completely oblivious to the fact that these passwords can be quickly broken by a hacker using basic tools.

Alternatively, perhaps it is just down to the fact that as internet users we are all a little lazy when it comes to cyber security.

The list shows that users prefer simplicity, rather than more complex passwords that can keep their data safe. Sometimes simplicity isn’t enough.

 

How to Improve Your Password’s?

Here are a few simple ways to improve the strength of your passwords.

  • Use a mixture of characters – Use a combination of both upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Make sure it is easy for you to remember!
  • Avoid dictionary terms –a word found in the dictionary can be breached within a matter of seconds by a brute force attack.
  • Use a different Passwords – with so many websites requiring you to have a password in order to log in, the temptation to use the same password for each one can be irresistible to some.
  • Change your Password – if you think your account could have been hacked change your password
  • Use two step authentication – wherever possible give your information a second layer of protection from hackers.

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