What do “123456” and “password” have in common? Since 2012, these two words have topped SplashData’s list of Worst Passwords of the Year.
After evaluating more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet, the company found that computer users consistently use the same unsafe, easily guessable passwords.
Did your password make the list? Check out the full list here: https://www.teamsid.com/100-worst-passwords/
It is inevitable that sometime or another, you will be the victim of a breach. But you can take action to prevent it, or minimize the damage when you do.
It is CRITICAL to follow these guidelines for strong passwords:
- Do not use the same password for more than one site or login.
- Use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Longer passwords are better.
- Commit your passwords to memory, do not write them down.
On that list, my experience is that many people are guilty of using the same password on multiple sites and/or writing their passwords down (the back of your keyboard is a common place for these!).
To avoid this, I strongly recommend using a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass to generate and store your passwords. Both have standalone software downloads and Chrome extensions. I personally use (and pay for) 1Password, but LastPass is good as well.
The great thing about these pieces of software is that they only require you to memorize one “master password” and then generate random, more secure passwords for each of the sites you log into. Plus, they have other features such as informing you when you’ve used a password more than once, or if your password has been found in a data breach. 1Password will even let you know when a site supports Two-Factor Authentication and walk you through setting it up.
Here are a few more resource articles about creating strong passwords.
- Google: Create a strong password & a more secure account
- Lifehacker: How to Create a Strong Password
- Nerd Wallet: 3 Steps to Strong Passwords
Or, generate secure passwords right in any browser using a variety of requirements.
So these steps will help you stay safe. But how do you check to see if you’ve been the victim of a breach. You can use the site haveibeenpwned.com to check if you have an account that’s been compromised in a data breach and then change your password.
I’m Chris Malanga and I’ve been an Educational Technologist with the Northern Buckeye Education Council/NWOCA since 2006. In this role, I help teachers, administrators, and students integrate technology into our schools. My passion is helping people develop skills to change the world of education!