Passwords…Again

July 20, 2018

Passwords…Again

I know we keep writing articles about passwords, but it’s because they are so important. And we have some new and interesting information for you.

Having a good password is important. Many people set a password and say, “Nobody will guess that password.”. However, the truth is, most of the time a password is cracked, not guessed. Password cracking programs use many different methods to try and crack a password. That’s why having a strong password is so important.

What are most likely ways a hacker can get your password?

  1. They hack into a vendor’s system and steal all of their customers passwords. There’s not much you can do about this other than keep an eye on your account and on the news and change your passwords every so often.
  2. Malware, phishing emails, or fake websites trick you into telling them your password. To avoid this, make sure you have good security on your computer, be careful what you open and where you click, and keep tabs on your accounts.
  3. They use a password cracking program to figure out your password.
    Have a strong password to prevent this. Use a different password for each account.

As you know, there have been a lot of hacks in the last few years and a lot of passwords were stolen. Wpengine.com recently analyzed a large set of Gmail accounts and their passwords that had been stolen and posted online. The results of their analysis were very interesting. You can read their full article by going to http://www.wpengine.com/unmasked.

The first thing I found interesting were the 50 most common passwords used.
The most common ones were numbers from 1234 to 123456789. The word “password” was the second most common password. Not surprising at all. Other common passwords in the top ten were qwerty, 111111, and dragon. I didn’t expect dragon, but the other two were no surprise.

The most common passwords on the list in positions 11 to 50 that were no surprise to me were 123123, abc123, letmein, 666666, 123321, and 7777777. I have encountered customers with all of these passwords.

If you use any of the passwords on that list, you might want to change your password.

As you know, most services require you to include a number in your password. Wpengine.com’s analysis revealed that the vast majority of people just add the number 1 to the end of their password. The number 2 was a distant second.

The average length of all the passwords was eight. The vast majority of passwords were between 6 and 10 characters long. As you know, the longer your password is, the harder it is to crack.

Something you might have noticed in the most common passwords list is that first names are commonly used as passwords. The article also lists the most common words used in passwords. They categorized them too. Categories included nouns, verbs, colors, animals, fruits, I Love, My…, superheroes, first names, and days of the week.

There are several lessons that can be learned from that article.

  1. Don’t use common or obvious passwords.
  2. Don’t use words and names in your password.
    1. If it’s in the dictionary, don’t use it in your password.
    2. Don’t use proper names like names of your family members, pets, etc.
  3. Don’t put the number 1 on the end of your password.
    In fact, use several numbers throughout your password.
  4. Don’t just use capital letters at the beginning of passwords.
    Use them throughout.

Do you know who takes note of these types of lessons? Hackers. That’s right. They are going to use these lessons to try and hack into accounts and they will be successful. They could hack into your account if you don’t have a strong password.

For more information on creating a strong password, click here read this article on our website.

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