Man’s best friend does a terrific job of protecting your home. But when it comes to protecting your online accounts, your beloved pet is literally the worst choice possible.
Recently, Google conducted a study of 2,000 people to learn more about their methods for choosing account passwords. The research revealed a worrying fact: Most people choose passwords based on readily available information. This means a surprising number of accounts can be hacked using a few simple, educated guesses.
So, what are the most common passwords? The top (bottom?) 10 list is as follows:
- Pet names
- A notable date, such as a wedding anniversary
- A family member’s birthday
- Your child’s name
- Another family member’s name
- Your birthplace
- A favorite holiday
- Something related to your favorite sports team
- The name of a significant other
- The word “Password”
Naturally, if you used any of these ten to construct your own passwords, then you should probably take a moment to come up with something far more secure. After all, information such as birthdays, anniversaries and names can be easily researched using Facebook. That's why it's generally recommended that you lie when setting account security questions like "what is your mother's maiden name?"
The study reveals a few other terrible password habits: Nearly half of us (48%) share our passwords with others, a basic security no-no. And 3% write their passwords down on a post-it note stuck near their computer – the digital equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked at night.
There’s no excuse for a lazy password. Rather than choosing an easy-to-remember piece of personal information, you can use more secure password management software instead. You should also read up on Suzanne’s tips for creating a strong password.