Better think twice before choosing a password for emails, online bank accounts and airline tickets.
Passwords that show no imagination or distinctiveness are easy prey for information pirates, a new US study says.
A statistical analysis of 28,000 passwords recently stolen from a popular US website and posted on the internet reveals that people often do the easy thing.
It found that 16 percent took a first name as a password, often their own or one of their children, according to the study published by Information Week.
Another 14 percent relied on the easiest keyboard combinations to remember such as “1234” or “12345678.” For those using English keyboards, “QWERTY” was popular. Likewise, “AZERTY” scored with people with European keyboards.
Five percent of the stolen passwords were names of television shows or stars popular with young people like “hannah,” inspired by singer Hannah Montana. “Pokemon,” “Matrix,” and “Ironman” were others.
The word “password,” or easy to guess variations like “password1,” accounted for four percent.
Three percent of the passwords expressed attitudes like “I don’t care,” “Whatever,” “Yes” or “No.”
There were sentimental choices – “Iloveyou” – and their opposite – “Ihateyou.”
Robert Graham, of the company Errata Security, which did the analysis and published the conclusions, advises that to better protect against cyber intrusions: “Choose a password that is longer than eight characters with one capital letter and one symbol.”