It’s the beginning of a new year. That means SplashData has come out with its list of “top” passwords for 2017. And once again, that list has left security professionals scratching their heads and wondering what more can they possibly do to convince people to make them better and stronger. So, if any of your passwords has made this list, seriously consider making some changes in the new year.

Again, topping the list is “123456.” What’s wrong with this password? Well, a lot. First, it’s only six characters (or digits as it may be). The minimum is eight to create strength. Next, the digits are all in order. It’s also easily guessable and very easily crackable, especially using brute force methodologies. Unfortunately, the second most used password is “password.” That’s not a good one either.

The top ten include various forms of “123456,” as well the infamous “qwerty.” Some tried to get a little more creative and used “querty.” That one isn’t better. Others that appeared in the list include sports, such as “football,” which was in the top ten in 2016 as well, and is number nine for 2017. Sports team names, peoples’ names (Joshua, Robert, George, Jennifer, Jessica, and more), as well as a couple of what some consider curse words made the top 50.

Remember not to use dictionary words, common terms, names, car names, brands, etc. when choosing passwords. These are too simplistic. Make them difficult to guess, don’t use identifying information, such as your name, and include numbers and special characters in combination with letters. Don’t make it easy on the cybercriminals to get into your accounts. Remember not to reuse your passwords on multiple accounts either. This adds additional risk if one account is breached that your password will be tried on other accounts.

Try to think outside the box in 2018 when creating safeguards to your online accounts. Don’t use any on the top passwords lists or any versions of them. Those are used by hackers when they perform brute force attacks. Making sure all of your passwords are as secure as possible is quite a good resolution that isn’t hard to keep.

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Donovan B. Fox© Copyright 2018 SDFCU.org