The top passwords of 2018 are in, and they're not exactly secure

Are you easy to hack?

We have a question. What do you think the most popular password is?

If you’re thinking it’s easy, you’d be on the money.

For the fifth consecutive year in a row now, first place is again awarded to the ridiculous password “123456”. Hitting close to home yet?

We’re sure that some of you are masters in making sure that you’re using complex passwords and different passwords for different sites and accounts. That’s fantastic! But we’re also sure that some of you haven’t properly realised how easy you are to hack…. And that’s definitely not fantastic.

The results are in… and they aren’t ideal

A recently published list of most commonly used passwords online was released with “password”, “qwerty” and “admin” ranking in the favourites. Other favourites included:

1. 123456789

2. 12345

3. 1111111

4. sunshine

5. iloveyou

6. princess

7. welcome

8. abc123

9. football

10. monkey

11. charlie, and

12. !@#$%^&*

A quick look at this list reveals an alarmingly number of internet users opt in for the easiest and most convenient way to remember their details and securing their information online. This begins to unravel the trend users have previously used when they choose easy numerical patterns (123456), easy names (admin, welcome) and sports (football).

Look, we get it. With so much on your plate already, adding a complicated or complex password to remember (and having different passwords for different accounts) just adds to the pile. It’s hard to keep track of which password connects to each account. Plus, if you’ve already remembered your password for the last few years and it’s been so far, is there really a risk?

What people can do with your information

We aren’t ones to promote scare tactics. But with breaches becoming more commonplace, even if that stems from the fact that more disclosures are being made, people should be aware of the risks.

Your financial information, personal information and photos are all online now. Given the technology available, passwords such as the ones listed above can be hacked in a few seconds. It’s far easier to be proactive in securing your information than being reactive when you realise your bank account has been emptied fraudulently.

Phishing attacks occur when emails, instant messages or text messages are opened by users for hackers to gain access to their accounts. The contents of the message are disguised to look genuine and the attacks are designed to steal a person’s user data (which includes login credentials and credit card details).

How do I secure my information?

Many hacking attempts can be thwarted when users elect to use two-factor authentication. This process requires you to log in using the first password and then asks you to confirm your log-in attempt (and sometimes on a different device) with a different password (like a six or eight digit passcode sent to your phone). Although two-factor authentication isn’t yet available on every log in service, research has proved that many users do not elect take advantage of this option. We think thank two-factor authentication is most important for services that have personally identifiable information available in it.

Using a password manager is a safe way to store your passwords electronically. Some password managers are also able to generate unique, strong passwords for you to use in different accounts. So basically, they’re doing the thinking for you! The benefit of this means that if one of your sites are breaches, your other credentials aren’t affected.

Laugh as you may, sometimes the good old fashioned “book of passwords” is another great option. If you aren’t saving your passwords on a device that can be hacked, this’ll mean that the hacker has to physically go to your house and retrieve the password book.

It’s up to you to take the initiative

What you do with your personal information is up to you. If you’ve taken the time to read through this article and have discovered that your passwords are on the list above (or are similarly simple ), our best advice would be to first change your password.

Taking further steps to protect yourself is next. We’d suggest you enable two factor authentication if it’s available and consider whether you should store your various passwords in password manager software, or in a paper book that’s kept safe at home.

It’s ultimately up to you to do your part in making sure your information is safe.

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