Internet Security: Easy as 123

A recently-released report by a California-based security company revealed that millions of computer users are selecting passwords that make it easy for hackers to gain access to their accounts.  Are you one of those people?

The company, Imperva, analyzed 32 million passwords in December 2009, and discovered that:

  • 30% of all computer users select passwords of 6 characters or less.  The shorter the password, the easier it for a hacker to guess.
  • Nearly half of all computer users create easy to remember (and therefore easy to guess) passwords, using slang words, dictionary words, or familiar number combination.  The most common password, for example, is “123456”.  Among the top 5 passwords are:  “12345”, “123456789” and “password”.
  • Half of all computer users use the same password for all the websites they visit. This means that once a hacker figures out a victim’s password at one site, it’s easy to invade that person’s accounts on other sites.
  • Almost 60% of users create passwords from a limited number of characters.  Passwords should not spell out a recognizable word and should contain upper and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters such as “!@#$%%^”.

If you’ve made any of these mistakes, you should take the time to review and change your passwords. Choose strong passwords and use these techniques to help remember them.


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