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With so much emphasis on cyber security at the moment, it is often easy to forget such memorable notions concerning “the weakest link” or the “Achilles’ heel”, but when it comes to protecting our data, it is often those little matters that let us down, the ease of our chosen passwords.

“Never write passwords down” is something that many have had drummed into them for some time, although computer security experts are less convinced that this is a solution to protecting our data, as the likelihood of somebody breaking into our homes to try to find our little password book is a lot slimmer than the chance of a hacker working it out for themselves.

An example of this is the annual report from SplashData which lists the most common passwords being used in 2014, which looks remarkably similar to previous years, thus showing that little has really changed.

Based on a leaked list of 3.3 million passwords, top of the list is “123456”, the same as was number one in 2013. In second place, somewhat bizarrely many might think, is “password”, because no hacker would assume the obvious, would they? The number 2 positioned word was also the same as last year. In third place was “12345”, forth was “12345678”, and in fifth place, the most commonly used password in 2014 was “qwerty”.

Although we perhaps ought to apologise if we have revealed your secure password, now is probably a good time to change it. In fact, experts do say that passwords should be changed frequently and based on a random string of characters, including letters in capital and lowercase form, numbers and symbols (where possible), not using memorable words of phrases, and keeping them safe. It is no wonder then why we might need to write down our passwords, if we have to opt for something like “eG7i*h!9$t”, but perhaps don´t use this one, as we´ve also just revealed that. If you do need to use common words, then the best option is to intentionally misspell them.

The final piece of advice is to not use things like pet´s names, elements your home address, either current or previous, such as home town or birthplace. Don´t use family names, favourite colours, or anything that is particularly obvious. The reason for this is not only due to the common use of the words, but the countless “games” played on the internet where it is seemingly harmless fun to “make up your spy name by combining your first pet and town of birth”, as revealing that you are known as “Snowy Birmingham” in the fake espionage world automatically reveals two potentially important pieces of data, and your passwords, should you have decided to take that route of protection.

These little tips are just the start of it, protecting your on-line identity and data is both important and simple, if you follow these and many other simple procedures available by doing a little research into protecting yourself.

Now for the list of the most popular passwords used in 2014, and perhaps a reminder that it’s time to change yours. My personal favourite, if I have to choose, “letmein”.

1. 123456

2. password

3. 12345

4. 12345678

5. qwerty

6. 1234567890

7. 1234

8. baseball

9. dragon

10. football

11. 1234567

12. monkey

13. letmein

14. abc123

15. 111111

16. mustang

17. access

18. shadow

19. master

20. michael

21. superman

22. 696969

23. 123123

24. batman

25. trustno1

Is yours on the list?

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/46139/

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