The Georges of the world need to stop using their names for their online passwords
In honor of World Password Day this week, cybersecurity firm ID Agent analyzed password data it collected from sites not accessible through your everyday web browser, otherwise known as the dark web.
The company looked through 2 billion passwords being shared on these illicit areas of the internet, according to an email from an ID Agent spokesperson, and it found some interesting commonalities among the login credentials that were stolen.
Among the list of offenders, using your first name as a password is perhaps the most easily crackable choice. Even if you use it for an anonymous account, one small slip on your end and a hacker could trace that account to one that does use your name, like a public social media profile.
Apparently, people named “George” do this a lot as it was the most common first name found in this password data. Other common first names used as passwords include Michael, Hunter, Charlotte, and Matthew.
Public online profiles can give away a lot more than your real name. For example, if you live in Dallas, Texas please don’t use “Dallas” as your password. It’s the most common city name found among this trove of stolen login credentials.
Did you post some photos on Facebook after seeing your favorite band last year? Are you arguing about your favorite sports team on Twitter? If so, you might be handing over a trove of information to hackers concerning what your password may possibly be.
Sports team names are a popular choice for people opting for a weak password. If you’re a baseball fan from New York, perhaps your password is “Yankees,” which is the most common team name used for a password. Steelers, Eagles, and Red Sox also top that list. Interestingly, what’s even more popular than those team names, however, was the password “rolltide,” a reference to the University of Alabama’s rallying cry for its college football team, the Crimson Tide.
Cartoon characters and comic book superheroes are also a common pick for users who say, “Please hackers, steal my info.” Of those, Tigger, Snoopy, Mickey, Superman, and Batman are the most commonly used.
“Jenny, I’ve got your number” … and now your password if you’re one of the many people using “8675309” — the title of the classic song by Johnny Tutone.
Blink 182, Rush, The Beatles, and Blondie are other common band names that are also used far too often as people’s passwords.
During this pandemic, cybersecurity professionals have found a number of different attacks being deployed by bad actors looking to take advantage of the situation and steal your info. So it’s worth taking the time to reevaluate your current password choices. Are you using uppercase and lowercase characters in your password? How about numbers and other special characters? Is your password too short? Are you using two-factor authentication where applicable?
Now, excuse me while I go change a few of my passwords.