By: Zachery Chambers
When choosing a password, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? A pet’s name, an important date, or maybe even just the word “Password”? SplashData, which collates passwords from data breaches in America and Western Europe to build samples, said “123456” was, for the fifth year running, the most commonly used password. For example, “1234567890”, “1qaz2wsx” (first two columns of main keys on a standard keyboard), and “qwertyuiop” (top row of keys on a standard keyboard) all appear in the top 25 list of common passwords and are each based on simple pattern that would be easily guessable by hackers. One of the easiest ways to gain unauthorized access to someone’s account is through using a tool to guess many passwords quickly. An attacker would enter a table comprised of say, the top 1,000 passwords used in 2016, and the program would work through the list by attempting each one. Statistically this would give them over a 5% chance of success per account. Password security is an important step in securing your accounts. For proper password guidance, check out this breakdown of NIST’s new 2017 password guidelines. Do your passwords stand up against these standards?