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The Most Overused Passwords & How to Avoid Them

Password security stands as the first and most crucial line of defense against an array of online threats. PHOTO: Freepik

Password security stands as the first and most crucial line of defense against an array of online threats. PHOTO: Freepik

Having discussed the importance of password security in the past, it’s easy to overlook the human errors that cause most breaches. Amid a rapidly accelerating arms race in fields like cryptography, your online accounts benefit from some of the best security protocols to ever exist. However, they can become useless if you fall into one of the oldest computing traps – overusing a password.

Why Passwords Matter

Most online accounts require two things — an email and a password. Your email itself requires a password, where the email then acts as a hub for your other account information. This makes your email password one of the most important, though there are many other examples of online accounts.

Take Amazon, which allows you to buy things and have them delivered to your address, or iGaming where sites offer online entertainment. Games on leading sites, along with promotional activities like daily free spins, all require a profile created from an email and password. Only then can you access the content available, and the same applies to workplace systems and government websites too.

So why do all these accounts have passwords? It’s to protect your data, along with access to the services they’re connected to. While any breach is egregious, accounts that include financial info need to have protections that keep your money safe. The password was brought in as an additional verification tool and is now ubiquitous across the internet. Successful online businesses have top-tier security on their end, your job is choosing a strong password and protecting it.

Overusing passwords is a problem because it means they’re easier to guess. On an individual basis, you should not use the same passwords across multiple services. If someone finds one of your passwords, they can use it to get into all of your accounts. As a society, we should try not to choose passwords that everybody else uses. Keep your passwords as unpredictable as possible — we’ve included tips on this below.

Most Used Passwords

Fortunately, organizations keep track of the most used passwords so you know what to stay away from. Remember that the majority of breaches are caused by human error, so picking the best password is fundamental.

Worldwide, the ten most popular passwords are:

  1. 123456.
  2. Admin.
  3. 12345678.
  4. 123456789.
  5. 1234.
  6. 12345.
  7. Password.
  8. 123.
  9. Aa123456.
  10. 1234567890.

In each case, these demonstrate a rushed and lazy approach to password setup. Instead of thinking one up, the users mostly pressed along the numbers row on their keyboard. These could be cracked in seconds using dedicated software.

Alongside ‘admin’, it’s also popular to use occupation titles if the account is part of a business. Communities with strong religious or political ties may also use figures from their interests as a password, or an important date. For individuals, using birth dates and family members’ names is also common. Anticipating someone’s password from their interests is part of password psychology.

How to Make a Strong Password

Making a strong password is simple if you follow some general rules. Microsoft gives five basic, clear rules that create a great password.

  1. More than 12, preferably more than 14 characters.
  2. No names of people, businesses or any other entity publicly connected to you.
  3. Drastically different from your other passwords.
  4. Include letters in uppercase and lowercase, alongside numbers and symbols.
  5. Memorable for personal reasons that others don’t know.

Following these, getting a strong password should be easy. Remember that the longer and more complex your password is, the longer it’ll take to get into it.

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