These days you have to remember a lot of passwords – but security experts are warning that people are making far too easy to guess.
And a recent study of a recent Yahoo data breach shows the most popular passwords are disturbingly simple.
They included “123456” and “password” as well as “qwerty”, “abc123” and “welcome” also making it into the top 10.
Lancaster University’s Dr Jeff Yan, who co-authored the report, told the Mail Online he believed people were using such simple passwords because they did not realise the risk.
“Just like everybody knows what one should do when red lights are on in the road, eventually everybody will know 123456 or the like is not a good password choice,” he said.
The ten most common passwords from the leaked Yahoo database:
Aside from the ten most popular choices, the researchers said people often base their passwords on personal information such as names, ages and birthdays – all of which could make it easy for hackers to access their accounts.
They developed an algorithm that allowed them to correctly guess passwords for more than 73% of ordinary users’ accounts.
Even for those who were more security-savvy, a third of passwords were cracked in 100 guesses.
Here are the Dos and don’ts of password-making
- Use a password phrase and make it relevant. If you’re joining a crossword site, think “knot my pencil” and write it something like this: Kn0tmyP3n$il
- Make it something you can visualize. It’s easier to remember that way
- Make it more than 10 characters and include capitals, numbers and symbols
- The more personal the better. For a clothing retail site think “mY5orit3$hirt’sR3d” (my favorite shirt is red)
- Use names: pets, businesses, family, friends, etc.
- Use letter or number patterns: 1234, abcd, etc.
- Use birthdays, addresses, postal or zip codes, even if you add a number or symbol
- Use less than 10 characters
- Store them locally or on the Internet