The average person spends roughly 11 hours online every day. From banking to chatting with friends, there’s no limit to all of the things we can do online. However, most of the sites or online resources we use daily—from Facebook to Gmail—are secured using a simple password.
Believe it or not, most people’s passwords aren’t very good, leaving many Web users susceptible to having their information hacked.
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Statistics on Passwords
10,000 of the most common passwords (such as 12345, qwerty, or 123456) can access 98 percent of all accounts.
90 percent of passwords generated by users are vulnerable to hacking.
The average UK resident has 26 online profiles or accounts, yet they only use five passwords for all of them.
In 2011, hackers stole 77 million Sony Playstation Network passwords.
In 2012, 400,000 Yahoo! email addresses were hacked.
In 2014, five million Gmail passwords were hacked and released online.
Apple’s iCloud was also vulnerable to password hacks, which led to the celebrity photo hacking of 2014.
The IRS got in trouble in 2015 for still using the password “password” for secure systems.
Top 10 Worst Passwords of 2014
But how bad are the average passwords? The top 10 worst passwords of 2014 include:
Quick History of the Password
1961: Massachusetts Institute of Technology creates the computer password to use the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS). Each user needed an individual password to use the system. All of the passwords were stored in the system.
1962: Researcher Allan Scheer used CTSS at MIT for his research, but he could only use the system for four hours a week. So he found a way to print out the password list, and he was able to “hack” in as other users to get around the time limit.
1970s: Cryptographer Robert Morris develops “hashing”: this system translates a password into a numerical value, and the password isn’t stored physically on the computer.
Currently: Modern computer systems like Linux use a similar form of hashing that’s now referred to as “salting.” This method adds unique characters to a password.
However, because many passwords are overly simple (users tend to make them short and easy to remember) and because many systems allow a user to guess multiple times, password-based systems remain vulnerable to hacking.
How can you make your passwords more secure?
- Don’t make a password too personal — for example, don’t tie it to anything that could be guessed by viewing your social media accounts.
- Don’t use single words found in the dictionary—your passwords should be as random as possible with no discernable patterns.
- You can use a combination of words to create a stronger “passphrase.”
- Change your password regularly, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Use a password manager or a password tool:
Use a password manager like TeamsID so you don’t have to remember all your passwords or write them down. A password manager can also generate strong random passwords for each of your online accounts.