Woman's hand, holding mobile entering in password

We all know that lousy password habits can be a significant cyber risk, but breaking them is easier said than done. So, let’s dive into some juicy password gossip and learn how to level up our cyber safety game.

The Terrible Password Hall of Fame

NordVPN recently spilled the tea on the most common passwords used in 2022, and, ladies, it ain’t pretty. We’re talking “password” (used by nearly five million people) and “123456” (with 1.5 million users). And if you think adding “789” to the end makes it better, think again – it’s the third most popular choice.

The complete list of 200 passwords includes some real gems like “guest,” “qwerty,” and my personal fave, “fuckyou.” But seriously, if any of these look familiar, it’s time for a change.

A Minute to Crack It: The Dangers of Weak Passwords

What’s truly scary is how quickly hackers can crack these bad boys. NordVPN estimates that many popular passwords can be broken in hours, minutes, or even seconds. In other words, if you’re using “password” as your password, you might as well hand over your account on a silver platter.

And if you’re reusing passwords, you’re putting all your accounts at risk. One data breach can send hackers on a shopping spree through your digital life.

Don’t Make It Personal: Keep Your Info Out of Passwords

Now, let’s talk about where we find our password inspo. NordVPN noticed that employees of big companies often use company-related info in their passwords. While it might help you remember what you’re typing every morning, it also gives hackers an easy in.

Think about your own passwords. Are you using your pet’s name, favorite sports team, or hometown? Bad news: hackers can find that info online and use it against you. So, let’s ditch the personal touch and make our passwords stronger.

Creating Strong and Unique Passwords: Be Random and Obscure

The key to a good password is randomness and obscurity. Don’t pick something that means anything to you or anyone else.

A practical method is stringing together a few totally random words. For example, instead of “Tr0ub4dor&3,” which seems strong but easily cracked by computers, try combining four unrelated words like “peanutbutter_sunshine_trombone_pirate.” Throw in some special characters, and you’re a cyber safety superstar.

Password Managers: The Ultimate Cyber Safety BFF

But let’s be real – who can remember all these new, complex passwords? That’s where a password manager comes in. It’ll store and create passwords for you, so you only need to remember one master password. Talk about a digital lifesaver!

Beyond Passwords: Two-Factor Authentication and Passkeys

Don’t stop at just having good passwords. Add two-factor authentication (2FA) to your accounts for an extra layer of protection. And keep an eye out for passkeys, a new system that combines passwords and 2FA into one secure solution.

So, there you have it, ladies – your guide to breaking bad password habits and rocking the cyber safety world. Let’s leave “password” and “123456” in the past and step into a more secure future!

Becky Duncan