You might remember a hacking scandal from a few months ago, in which John Podesta was outed as using the terribly flawed password, “password”. You would think that a high-ranking member of the Democratic National Party would know better! And yet, Podesta apparently used the incredibly common and easy-to-guess password, and endured a humiliating public relations scandal as a result.
For the past six years, SplashData has released the most common and easily guessed passwords from over five million hacking incidents. Topping the list are “password”, “123456”, and even variations on “password” such as “passw0rd” or “password1”. For the record, no, you can’t modify such a simple phrase in some small way, and expect that hackers won’t be able to crack it.
Five of the top ten “bad” passwords were comprised of consecutive numbers only. Another common mistake is using a simple pattern on your keyboard, such as “qwerty” or “zaq1zaq1”. Amusingly, Star Wars references also made the list, with passwords such as “solo” and “princess” being quite common in 2016.
Just how common are these bad passwords? Over ten percent of people are using one of the top 25 passwords on the SplashData list. If you’re a hacker trying to get into someone’s email account, you could succeed one time out of every ten attempts, simply by trying those common passwords.
Yikes! Even if you’re not using one of these terrible passwords, odds are good that one or two employees are. It’s a good idea to review proper password protocol with all employees, and remind them of these simple rules:
- Use passwords of at least eight characters
- Use mixed characters, such as capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- Don’t use the same passwords for multiple services, such as email, social media accounts, and cloud servers
- Use a secure password manager to store and manage multiple passwords
Taking a few moments to remind your employees about secure passwords can go a long way toward protecting your network. Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH if you have any further questions about network security, and we can help you protect your business.