FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – How many times do I have to tell you? PASSWORD is not a good computer password. And for heaven’s sake, don’t swap it out for 123456!
A new study done by SplashData, a password management application provider, looks at the 25 worst passwords of the year.
Besides just swapping out the letter “o” for a zero, the folks at SplashData also don’t recommend choosing password based on the layout of your keyboard – words like “qwerty” and “qazwsx.”
Researchers had to admit they have no clue as to why the passwords “monkey” and “shadow” have become so popular.
To come up with the list of the 25 Worst, SplashData looked over the millions of files of stolen passwords proudly posted online by hackers.
Experts concede that thieves have incredibly sophisticated hacking tools at their disposal. But why would they put in all the work to “break in” if the door is wide open?
Check out the 25 Worst Passwords of 2011 -
A word of advice, if you see your current password on the list above – change it immediately!
And while I don’t know your children, dog, cat or bird, having their name, as a password is also a bad idea.
So how do you choose a safe and secure password? Most experts recommend long passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols such as @, #, and &.
The problem with using this kind of password is remembering them. Most people couldn’t remember h&7UtYY#23.
In addition, security professionals say you should use a different password for every site that requires one. That only adds to the difficulty of remembering them. The thinking is that if you reuse a password on several websites and one of them is compromised, the hacker will have gained access to your accounts on each of those websites.
Several companies make password-management software to help generate and securely store these complex passwords. LastPass, KeePass and 1Password are all popular, and others exist as well. (Editor’s note: Some of us here at CBSDFW.COM use LastPass to manage our many passwords, and we’re very happy with it.)
If you don’t want to trust or invest in software to handle your passwords, there are methods to generate easy-to-remember secure passwords.
One system is to use passphrases instead of passwords. The idea is the same, but while passwords can be as short as 6 or 8 characters, passphrases are often 20 characters or longer.
Creating a passphrase is easy. For example, imagine your dog’s name is Spike. You might start with the phrase “IlikeSpike.” (Many websites don’t allow the use of spaces in passwords or passphrases.)
If you add some numbers – perhaps the year Spike was born – the passphrase becomes exponentially more secure.
To increase security even further, you might consider “padding” the passphrase with some additional symbols at the beginning and end, such as asterisks. So your final passphrase might be “*IlikeSpike2006.*”
Now you have a secure passphrase that is also easy to remember.
To learn more about password security, visit these sites: