Google Reveals the 10 Worst Password Ideas

Man’s best friend does a terrific job of protecting your home. But when it comes to protecting your online accounts, your beloved pet is literally the worst choice possible.

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Man’s best friend does a terrific job of protecting your home. But when it comes to protecting your online accounts, your beloved pet is literally the worst choice possible.

Recently, Google Apps conducted a study of 2,000 people to learn more about their methods for choosing account passwords. The research revealed a worrying fact: Most people choose passwords based on readily available information. This means a surprising number of accounts can be hacked using a few simple, educated guesses.

So, what are the most common passwords? The top (bottom?) 10 list is as follows:

  1. Pet names
  2. A notable date, such as a wedding anniversary
  3. A family member’s birthday
  4. Your child’s name
  5. Another family member’s name
  6. Your birthplace
  7. A favorite holiday
  8. Something related to your favorite sports team
  9. The name of a significant other
  10. The word “Password”

Naturally, if you used any of these ten to construct your own passwords, then you should probably take a moment to come up with something far more secure. After all, information such as birthdays, anniversaries and names can be easily researched using Facebook. That’s why it’s generally recommended that you lie when setting account security questions like “what is your mother’s maiden name?”

The study reveals a few other terrible password habits: Nearly half of us (48%) share our passwords with others, a basic security no-no. And 3% write their passwords down on a post-it note stuck near their computer – the digital equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked at night.

There’s no excuse for a lazy password. Rather than choosing an easy-to-remember piece of personal information, you can use more secure password management software instead. You should also read up on Suzanne’s tips for creating a strong password.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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23 comments
MMcClureHeart
MMcClureHeart

Wow. Social Networks like FB and Snapchat offer a smorgasbord of tasty personal data, and then users toss in worthless passwords like "Fido" and (better still) "password." No wonder online security is struggling so.


Unless people start drafting smarter passwords, I think CharlesBoyer's comment below rings true: the use of passwords should be suspended and replaced with a more secure (and probably tedious) method.


In the meantime, it's up to us, as individual citizens and corporate entities, to watch over our networks or pay for someone to do it for us.  Managed network services seem to be the upcoming replacement for the "do it yourself" approach to network security, at least for small businesses. As this industry grows, maybe will see if work for individuals as well.

bs4355
bs4355

my password is 'bosco' I got the idea from an episode of sienfeld. remember ,my password is "BOSCO'

thats   BOSCO.

CharlesBoyer
CharlesBoyer

Given that passwords are easily defeated by people even with limited technical knowhow, it is long past time for us to move past them and develop a new and more effective form of personal identification for digital systems. 

Geoz
Geoz

I read where a woman used the word "incorrect" as her password.  That way, when she forgot, her computer would remind her:  "Your password is incorrect."

dperkyone
dperkyone

The best passwords use capital letter, symbols, and numbers. An easy way to do this is to substitute symbols and numbers for letters in a random word or pair of words word.   For instance, you can make the words blue elephant a pretty secure password by changing it to B1ueE1eph@nt.    This example the two words are random but they give you a visual image in your head that would stick pretty easily.  It would be tough to crack as well since there are no actual words in the password.  

kevbob11
kevbob11

i doubted it would be on there but i was hoping for 12345.  Have to love spaceballs.

geneticus0
geneticus0

"And 3% write their passwords down on a post-it note stuck near their computer – the digital equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked at night."

No, its not the digital equivalent of anything. Writing on paper is still analog. The topic of writing doesn't change that. 

dgcohen61430
dgcohen61430

First, one needs to care about the use of the password. A secure password is certainly  required for sites such as banking, medical, facebook etc.

But for many sites, it may be a don't care situation both for yourself and others, for the former case I use a password manager - keepass in my case, it's a free download. For the latter I use a simple easy to remember random word . Such a word will not be easily guessed, but is susceptible to brute force attacks. 

Windows passwords can be cracked or erased using easily downloaded software, so if you are really concerned about data on your computer use a third party utility such as TrueCrypt, also good for your flash drive.

tirebiter
tirebiter

A very secure password is to take the first letter of every word from the first line of a song or poem.  It's usually very easy to teach your fingers what the password is, while you really don't have the character string actually memorized.  And they usually don't make any sense written out.

The hard part is to not start singing the song during or after the login.

So, for example, if you chose "Row Your Boat", the password would be: rrrybgdts


Kaitensatsuma
Kaitensatsuma

So, everything that essentially are your mandatory security question answers.

nix.nightbird
nix.nightbird

After all, information such as birthdays, anniversaries and names can be easily researched using Facebook. "


Not if you DON'T USE FACEBOOK! Duh!

BkSimpson
BkSimpson

I've been using a password manager for a couple years. well worth the little bit of effort getting it going. I got really tired of having to recover passwords for sites i go to infrequently. The one i use is LastPass ( not affiliated with them at all ) theres a bunch of them out there. 

kurizhao
kurizhao

why on earth would you put 'password' as your password?!!! =.= 

brower8
brower8

Others are any numbers heavily associated with a profession. I can think of numbers that I would first choose if I had the card of the following people:

Tax preparers or auditors

Optometrists, oculists, opticians, and ophthalmologists

Geometry teachers

Also for cops -- badge numbers. 

  

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

I have read a few security specialists say that a system of solid secure PWs written down are far more secure than using the same weak sauce PW over and over.

eetom
eetom

I find that the best and most secure password is...Sorry, you think that I am stupid enough to tell you?

Kiltedbear
Kiltedbear

I recently worked for a large insurance company doing inside IT support, supporting internal technology users. What is frightening to me is that managers set a pin number that a new hire uses to verify themselves when calling in to request ANY kind of password change for any of the 2000+ applications across the corporate network and 99% of the time it is the last 4 of the user's social or simply "1234". And this is a company who constantly works with protected medical data and has to adhere to HIPAA.

thisguyrighthere
thisguyrighthere

" And 3% write their passwords down on a post-it note stuck near their computer – the digital equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked at night."

I disagree with this statement, it's an old school way of thinking about security. I tell my users all the time it's best not to put a post-it note with your password on your screen but if it will get them to have a more secure password then I'd rather they go with the post-it note (but please, at least don't make it visible somewhere in plain site). The real threat isn't someone sitting down at their desk and logging in, it's someone getting in from the outside cracking their easy password. I do ask that they at least right it coded somewhere (if they need to write it at all) but the most important thing is that it is long, complex, and has nothing to do with their lives (or a dictionary word).   

QiongYao
QiongYao

I'd recommand people to keep using personal information,but combine two or even three of them together to create your password.That makes such guessers nearly impossible to hack your account even with your personal information at hand.

Mechanic1c
Mechanic1c

@dperkyone

Or even better, put a space or two in it. Repetition is useful too. For example, one of my passwords is a mix of a few passwords I have and repetition, one of the passwords being a simple set of about 10 random characters. It's 36 characters total and according to howsecureismypassword.com, it would take a computer 266 quattuordecillion years to guess it.

Ah yeah.

Kaitensatsuma
Kaitensatsuma

@kurizhao  Thats when you think you're wily but you really, really, really, really aren't.