How Hackable Are You? The Most Common Passwords of 2021

So how secure do you think you are?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, online shopping and internet services have dramatically jumped. Today with some much of our lives happening online, we use passwords daily for a whole range of activites – banking, shopping, streaming, social media and more. 

This of course brings with it the risk that the passwords you make might not be as secure as you think.

Cybersecurity service, Lookout reports that over 80% on average have had their email leaked on the dark web at some point – ready for further costly hacking activity.

For businesses, just one insecure password amongst your employees can open your network up to data theft or ransomware attacks. Yes this is one of the most common ways that hackers gain access and can cause total carnage to your business.

The Top 10 Most Common Passwords Found in 2021 on the Dark Web:

  • 123456
  • 123456789
  • qwerty
  • password
  • 12345
  • 12345678
  • 111111
  • 1234567
  • 123123
  • qwerty123

You may laugh at this list, confident that you’ve never used such simple passwords. However you may still be using simple words or dates that are just as easy for cybercriminals to hack.

And according to digital security software company, Norton more than 2 out of every 3 people use the same few passwords across multiple online accounts. Hack one and they will likely gain access to more…

“Businesses and individuals within the U.S. lost nearly $4.2 billion to cybercrimes within the last year alone,” says Norton.

Identity theft and data breaches continue to rise each year and remain “alarmingly high” according to experts. Also concerningly there are increased cyber attack related incidents largely leading to costly ransomware demands on businesses, both small and large.

Tips for Creating Strong Passwords:

  • Don’t use personal information – strong passwords shouldn’t include any use of personal info like names (including nicknames), date of birth, addresses or phone numbers.
  • Mix it up – use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Strong passwords include a variety of random characters, letters and numbers to make the password more complex. (see example below).
  • Make it longer – secure passwords should be at least 16 characters long to reduce the chances of falling victim to a hacking breach.
  • Don’t repeat passwords – reusing the same passwords across different accounts, means a hack on one account can leave you open on other website accounts. This is a frequent source of breach – even if you do have a secure password…
  • Don’t use real words – Hackers use special programs that automatically run through the dictionary and more to crack simple passwords.
For more tips on secure passwords see our post from earlier this year here.

Also see if your email is already on the dark web, do a search via the website Have I Been Pwned

Image Source: Norton

Again for businesses, enforce a strong password policy and educate your employees not only on secure passwords, but secure use of your corporate network.

This isn’t going away anytime soon, and if you’re complacent about this, then sooner or later you will be affected. And it won’t be cheap..