IF you have a Google or Hotmail account, you should check your password immediately.
A list of the most commonly used passwords has been released – and using any of them could get you hacked in seconds.NordPass also revealed the countries hardest hit by data leaks[/caption]
If someone can break into your email, they can then use it to access many of your other online accounts.
So you need to make sure you’re using a very strong password on your email.
We’re all using loads of online accounts – likely dozens, if you’re a regular internet user.
And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remember them all, unless you use simple passwords – or a password manager.
Hackers prey on people who have settled for re-using passwords, or who use common words.
Now NordPass has released a report revealing the most common passwords.
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The worst is “123456”, followed by “123456789” and “12345”.
Then there’s “qwerty” in fourth place, and the dreaded “password” in fifth.
These passwords have been re-used tens of millions of times around the world.
So using any of them could allow hackers to access your accounts in “under a second”.
“A complex password is one that contains at least 12 characters and a varied combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols,” NordPass explained.
“Using a password generator is the easiest and quickest way to create complex passwords.”
Check the bottom of this article for the worst 50 passwords.
How to improve password security
The first thing you need to do is check if any of your accounts have already been compromised.
You can do this on HaveIBeenPwned.com.
This keeps track of major password/login leaks, and lets you check your email or phone number against them.
It’s a great way to see if you’ve been caught up in any major hacks, although it doesn’t have sight over every leak that’s ever taken place.
You should also set up a Password Manager, which makes it easier to keep track of your many passwords.
Google Chrome has a system like this built in already.
Apple users also already have a built-in system for this called iCloud Keychain and Safari Strong Passwords.
iCloud Keychain remembers the passwords you type on your phone, encrypts them, and stores them in the cloud.
So you can choose very strong passwords without having to remember them – your phone will simply enter them for you at log in.
“iCloud Keychain remembers things so that you don’t have to,” Apple explains.
“It auto-fills your information – like your Safari usernames and passwords, credit cards, Wi-Fi networks and social log-ins – on any device that you approve.
“iCloud Keychain stores your passwords and credit card information in such a way that Apple cannot read or access them.”
When you sign up to a service on Safari, you’ll get an option to use an auto-generated password that’s very difficult for hackers to crack.
This password is automatically saved in your iCloud Keychain so you don’t even have to remember it.
You can also add passwords you already have into the Keychain.
But one of the best features is the password re-use alert.
It’s important to never use the same password on multiple accounts. If you do re-use passwords, hackers who break into one account can then get access to others.
Your Safari Saved Passwords will alert you when you have two passwords that match, and suggest a change for you.
Set up iCloud Keychain
First, you’ll need to make sure you’re using an Apple device running iOS 7.0.3 or later, or OS X 10.9 or later for Macs.
On your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, follow these steps:
- Tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud (on iOS 10.2 or earlier, it’s just Settings > iCloud)
- Tap Keychain
- Tap the slider to turn on iCloud Keychain
For Mac devices, here’s what you need to do:
- Click the Apple menu in the top left
- Choose System Preferences
- Select iCloud
- Select Keychain
Worst passwords revealed
Here are the top 50 most common passwords, according to NordPass...
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