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5 Common Passwords and How They Could Be Improved

Having a strong password is just as important as locking your door at night. But many users are relying on passwords that a thief could crack in a second.

Despite the importance of properly safeguarding online accounts, many people aren’t sure how to create a strong password. 2016’s list of the most common passwords showed that flimsy, predictable passwords are still popular amongst users. This isn’t good news at all. Many of your accounts — from online banking to social media — hold tons of personal information about you. This information needs to be protected.

If you’re guilty of using weak passwords, don’t despair. The following will show you how to create ironclad passwords so that your precious data stays safe and secure. But first, find out what not to do when creating passwords.

Read More: How Frequently Should You Change Your Passwords?

The Top 5 Weakest Passwords That You Need to Stop Using

  1. Numerical Sequences. In 2016, the top most common passwords were “123456” and “123456789.” Indeed, 17% of online users are using “123456” to lock their accounts. Needless to say, these numerical sequences are likely the first passwords that someone would try when breaking into your accounts.
  2. Default Passwords. Many users simply put down “password” as their password, which reached the 8th spot on 2016’s lineup, or other default terms like “guest,” “admin,” or “default.”
  3. Keyboard Rows. The password “qwerty” hit third spot on 2016’s list. It’s truly the alphabetic version of “123456.” So, don’t think that someone else wouldn’t guess it in a heartbeat.
  4. Dictionary Words. An unaltered word from the dictionary won’t keep your account safe, no matter how long and complicated its spelling may be.
  5. Personal Data. Never use your birthday, anniversary, or any other important dates as your password. Just by doing a quick round of research on you, someone could successfully guess it. The same thing goes for entering loved ones’ names (that includes pets), your address, your phone number, or anything else that’s easily found on social media.

How to Create a Strong Password

When you’re coming up with a strong password, there are a few rules you should follow. If you’ve chosen a memorable word like “seahorse,” you should alter that word by making it a difficult combination of capital letters, symbols, and non-sequence numbers. For instance: “$eAh0rsE” or “sEAh0&$e.” These passwords appear nonsensical, but since they’re based upon a real word, you won’t have trouble remembering them. Strong passwords are also long passwords, or even passphrases, so you’ll want to include more than just a variation of “seahorse.”

As a final note: never, ever reuse a password. All of your accounts should be protected with different passwords, just in case someone manages to break into one of them. You don’t want to hand them the keys to the entire castle!