New tech that protects and verifies your identity becomes more common all the time, yet we still can't escape the constraints of keeping traditional passwords for online accounts. Fine, but the bigger problem is that many of us also won't stop using really bad passwords.
Data breaches, security flaws and other digital mishaps expose personal information on a fairly regular basis. This year has been particularly abysmal on that front, and these instances should serve as a wake-up call that keeping your data safe is now more important than ever.
And often included in the exposed personal info are account passwords. So one company takes a look at those leaked records each year, and find that a surprising number of people keep using passwords so easy to guess, they might as well not use them at all.
The worst of the worst
Every year, millions of leaked passwords are evaluated by SplashData, provider of TeamsID, Gpass and SplashID password management applications. And year after year, they find that millions of people still use the same weak, predictable and very guessable passwords.
I'm not sure if this should still come as a surprise or not, but (drum roll) the worst password with its fifth consecutive chart-topping win: "123456." For the same time period, the silver medal once again goes to "password." Unfortunately, the rest of the top 5 doesn't get any better with other variations of 123s.
But there are new, really bad passwords cracking the top 25 this year. Maybe the "123456" string has become cliché, but a lot of people still love using numbers for passwords. New to the top 25 worst passwords this year are "111111" and "666666." Creative. And fortune does not favor the bold who believe holding down the shift key to create !@#$%^&* makes for an impenetrable fortress of account protection.
Passwords so bad, they need a presidential pardon
Numbers aren't the only new additions to the worst passwords list. At number 23 on the 2018 list, "donald." Points for being topical, but don't use that to secure your own nuclear launch codes.
“Sorry, Mr. President, but this is not fake news – using your name or any common name as a password is a dangerous decision,” Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, Inc., said in a news release. “Hackers have great success using celebrity names, terms from pop culture and sports, and simple keyboard patterns to break into accounts online because they know so many people are using those easy-to-remember combinations.”
Other bad options breaking into the top 25 include "sunshine" and "princess." But using happier, more pleasant words aren't going to improve your mood when you eventually get hacked by an amateur identity thief.
Protect your online accounts
SplashData doesn't want your identity stolen. That's why they release this annual list to encourage people to adopt stronger passwords.
“Our hope by publishing this list each year is to convince people to take steps to protect themselves online,” Slain said. “It’s a real head-scratcher that with all the risks known, and with so many highly publicized hacks such as Marriott and the National Republican Congressional Committee, that people continue putting themselves at such risk year-after-year.”
Below is the top 25 "Worst Passwords of 2018:"
1. 123456 (Rank unchanged from last year)
2. password (Unchanged)
3. 123456789 (Up 3)
4. 12345678 (Down 1)
5. 12345 (Unchanged)
6. 111111 (New)
7. 1234567 (Up 1)
8. sunshine (New)
9. qwerty (Down 5)
10. iloveyou (Unchanged)
11. princess (New)
12. admin (Down 1)
13. welcome (Down 1)
14. 666666 (New)
15. abc123 (Unchanged)
16. football (Down 7)
17. 123123 (Unchanged)
18. monkey (Down 5)
19. 654321 (New)
20. !@#$%^&* (New)
21. charlie (New)
22. aa123456 (New)
23. donald (New)
24. password1 (New)
25. qwerty123 (New)
You have a lot of options to boost your online security. Click or tap here to learn about passphrases and password managers to help secure your accounts. And here's a suggestion from Kim for full online protection:
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Google+ to shut down sooner after new data leak impacts more than 50 million users
Google+ was Google's attempt to jump onto the social-media bandwagon and create its own Facebook-like platform. Well, after a number of years of abysmal use by the public and companies, Google announced earlier this year that it would be shutting down Google+ within the next year. Now it seems this ill-fated site has been hit by a massive data leak that has forced Google to shut it down sooner than expected.