Every year millions of passwords get leaked—which means there’s a lot of big data out there that makes for some entertainment from unfortunate situations! The majority of hacks and data breaches could be easily prevented with basic security measures. Between you and your web host, both of you need to be regularly changing your passwords, ensuring that you don’t repeat passwords, and making them tough by using upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. If you choose an option like managed virtual private server (VPS) hosting and you’re taking full responsibility for your site and server management, this is even more critical!
Even the biggest of data breaches often were caused partially because 1) a password hadn’t been changed in months or years, or 2) there was no two-step authentication installed. Thinking of a tough password is more challenging than you think. Changing it at regular intervals (at least once per quarter) is even more of an obstacle. If you need (un)inspiration, check out the most commonly used passwords of the last year.
Passwords are Hard
Year after year after year, the most common password is “123456.” There’s no telling why everyone wants to stop at six, but it may be a common minimum character requirement for many sites. Never use this, or any sequential number sequence. Another repeat offender is “password,” which comes in at number two. You’re not being clever, and any hacker with her salt will try this one. At number three is “12345,” proving that, yes, five character limits are also common.
Fourth place goes to “12345678,” which is perhaps thanks to people who put in a little more effort into creating their passwords—but nowhere near enough. Other popular passwords include “qwerty,” which might feel great to type and like you’re a speed demon, but you can’t choose a password that’s literally the name of the most common keyboard in North America. There are various other combinations of sequential numbers starting with “1” all the way up to “9,” but you can bet that hackers try all of these combinations first.
Trial and Error
People who use the most common passwords also likely use the same ones for various sites. If someone gets into a part of your server, what’s next? They might try banks and other online sites where more valuable data is stored. Surprisingly, there were also some brand new common passwords that popped up last year. These include “baseball,” “dragon,” and “football.” “Mustang” also made a first-time appearance. However, they’re largely overshadowed by classics like “letmein” (let me in), “abc123,” and “111111.”
Rounding out the list is “shadow” and “123123,” both classics with a smattering of newbies. Some people thought they were savvy with “access,” “master,” “superman,” or “Michael.” And that brand new “696969?” Well, hopefully that’s just a sign that there are a lot more teens at least trying to protect their information online—although they need to try a bit harder!