Passwords. The bane of modern life. We share with you our top 3 tips on passwords and how to use them wisely. Studies suggest that the average person has around 100, so it’s probably no great surprise that we use simple ones, or repeat them. Because really, who can remember them otherwise?
Top 3 tips on passwords
That’s probably why, yet again, the most popular password of 2022 was – stand by – password. Followed by deeply complex algorithms like 123456, or mysterious far flung places like liverpool, or arsenal (without capitals, of course). There’s a fabulous list of the top picks at https://nordpass.com/most-common-passwords-list/, which is also sortable by country and poses some interesting questions. Like why ‘killer’ figures in the top 50 US choices, why Italians cuss at their computers so readily (see number 29), and why those romantic frenchies put ‘je t’aime’ at number twenty.
We recently came across an industry stat claiming that 20% of people had put their pet’s name on social media in the previous year, and then proceeded to use it as their password. So if more than five of you read this, one of you is probably guilty.
What to do? Three top tips on passwords from us.
One, get someone else to do the remembering. Your browser will probably offer to provide – and remember – a far stronger password. Let it. It’s better than one password being breached and all of your accounts being compromised too, because they use the same simple word. Better still, look at password managers. The national cyber security centre has a great blog about their benefits here.
Two, for the things that you absolutely have to have a password for, use three random words. PickleBookcaseCarpet. ElephantHopscotchDenied. I bet you can recall those, and you can add symbols, numbers and uppercase to make things harder. Blo4ted!Tortoise!M4rshm4llow! You get the idea.
Three, use something that’s not a password. (Did you know that Microsoft now offers a passwordless option?) Two factor authentication is something that most people have heard of now, even if not all understand it. It used to require a text code being sent to your phone, but more modern solutions are now available which get apps to check your fingerprint before allowing access to accounts. If you’re not sure, ask your search engine, or ask us.
We know this is simple. But we also know that most people don’t get it right. And we know that breached passwords are one of the most common ways to break in. So take ten minutes to sort it out, and – to all my Italian friends – please stop telling your computer to *@£* off. It’s really not solving your security issues.