Don’t make life easy for the hackers! Avoid these common password mistakes

Caroline Scotter Mainprize | May 25, 2018

Equifax, Target, Yahoo, MyFitnessPal, Panera Bread … massive data leaks come from every type of company and they are increasing in size and frequency every year.

Yet it seems that we have still not learnt the lesson about protecting our own data through good password security.

Researchers from Virginia Tech university and security firm Dashlane have analysed 61 million leaked passwords and discovered that 123456 and qwerty are still among the most common password choices. Not only that, but these easily guessable combinations are probably key to opening up multiple accounts, as the research shows that over half of us reuse passwords.

The study also suggests that hackers trying to guess passwords could do worse than work their way through the Champions’ League, as Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Manchester all featured on the Dashlane list. Maybe the one advantage of being a Leeds United fan is that you have a ready-made obscure password!

And if you think you’re being clever or original by using something sweary or referring to an extremely out-of-date or uncool brand, apparently you’re not. F***you, Myspace, and Playboy were all used multiple times.

Strong password discipline is a crucial factor in ensuring your cyber-security. Follow our tips to ensure that you don’t see yours on next year’s ‘most leaked’ list.

  1. Choose a complex password. The latest advice is to use three unrelated words that mean something to you (and are therefore memorable to you). Adding numbers and symbols is also helpful, but the three unrelated words are key.
  2. Use different passwords for different apps and websites, especially the important ones such as your bank account.
  3. If you find it difficult to remember passwords, install a password-management app such as Roboform.