So who would use the simplest of passwords like 12345 to access their online account? Would you believe 1 out of 5 web users still do. It's like leaving the key under the doormat- abc123.
Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer from Imperva which makes software to block hackers, recently examed a list of 32 million unknown passwords that hackers stole last month from Rock You- a company that makes software for social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram. The actual list was briefly posted on the web where hackers and researchers downloaded it. The study provided an unusual detailed window of computer users password habits. Agencies like the FBI and the National Security Administration normally have access to a large list of commonly known hacked passwords. Florida State University's division of e-crimes and investigative technology also studied the list of passwords. Also Imperva's study of the 32 million computer users indicate that 1% still use 123456 or12345 as passwords. Abc123 and princess are also commonly used.
Hackers can easily break into many accounts by trying commonly used passwords. With fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can guess at billions of passwords per minute!
Computer users have the perception that password guessing is very time consuming where large numbers of names and password combinations are used. Hackers are very effective in using a small number of passwords.
Some web sites will freeze an account for a certain period of time if too many incorrect passwords are used. Hackers have learned the trick to the system by making guesses at acceptable rates.
Why do users still continue to choose easy guessable passwords? Perhaps they're overwhelmed by the number of things to be remembered during this digital age. We could have 10 times as many passwords in our head as we did 10 years ago. Today we're dealing with voice mail passwords, atms and internet passwords.
Jeff Moss from the Homeland Security Advisory Council suggests using 2 passwords. Make a complex password where security is vital like your online banking. You may keep your passwords simpler for social networking sites. Use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Some web sites like Instagram won't allow common passwords. Also 12 character length passwords are better than 5-6 character. They're more difficult to target.