Every New Year, almost everyone makes a resolution to head to the gym more, eat better, learn something new—the list goes on and on. Whether you have one or all of these on your list for 2017, you might want to add another one: keeping your digital identity and accounts safe. Keeper Security, the online password manager and digital vault, compiled a list of the most common passwords in 2016 and the results were not surprising (but definitely cringe-worthy).
To create the list, Keeper looked at 10 million passwords that were made public after data breaches. The experts found that many of the passwords on the list were six characters or less—while an ideal password is at least eight characters with a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. It appears that many people also try to create passwords with unpredictable patterns (“1q2w3e4r” or “123qwe”), but these aren’t strong enough because they’re based on keyboard sequences. And it’s not just the user’s fault for creating weak passwords—Keeper experts say email providers and websites should enforce stricter and more complex password rules.
“63% of data breaches are due to weak passwords and policies,” Darren Guccione, Keeper CEO and co-founder, said. “Furthermore, 60% of people use the same password for everything. When a password is stolen by a cybercriminal they cross that password with all of your other logins giving them possible access to your banking, email, or shopping accounts.”
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There are a couple of steps you can take to strengthen your password security. Guccione recommends creating a unique password for every login: one that avoids dictionary terms and contains a variety of characters and symbols (at least eight). It may seem impossible for one person to remember unique passwords for every account, but using a password manager that helps store and organize all of them could help secure your accounts.