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If your password is featured on the list below, drop everything – and change your password. Yes, it’s that time of year again: the announcement of the most-used passwords of the last 12 months. And unfortunately, things haven’t moved on much in the last twelve months since the previous list was announced.
The number of hacks and cyber scams have skyrocketed within the last year as millions of us work, study, and socialise from home due to the ongoing public health crisis. Given the increased risk, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your personal and work accounts are safely locked down with a unique and secure password.
Given the fact that the most used password of 2020 is ‘123456’, it’s clear that a staggering number of people need to spend the weekend tweaking their passwords used with their online accounts.
The definitive list of the most-used passwords of the year comes courtesy of NordPass, which published the 200 most common passwords used this year. And it’s clear that as people rushed to sign-up to more streaming services, videoconferencing solutions, and social networks, the temptation to re-use the same passwords or rely on really simple passcode is too much to bear.
Interesting, 123456 was ranked as the second most commonly used password in 2019, according to NordPass. And this year, it’s surged into the top spot.
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For those who don’t know, NordPass is a password management system that first launched in 2019. It’s designed to help users organise their passwords and secure notes, keeping them in a single place — an encrypted password vault. By keeping everything in a vault secured by a single password… users can create a unique, super-strong alphanumeric password for every online account. NordPass is available for free, although a paid subscription version is available too.
The top 10 most commonly used passwords of the last year are…
Writing about its research in a blog post, NordPass commented: “According to research, the majority of people use simple and easy-to-remember passwords, because it’s convenient. But the problem is that most memorable passwords are highly vulnerable to cracking. Less than half of the passwords (78 of them) were new to the 2020 “most popular” list.”
Interestingly, last year the password “onedirection” came 184th on the list. This year, it didn’t make it at all. What that says about the popularity of the band and the success of Harry Styles’ solo career, we can’t possibly say. That’s not this author’s area of expertise.
Speaking about passwords and cybersecurity, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre technical director Dr Ian Levy said: “We understand that cybersecurity can feel daunting to a lot of people, but the NCSC has published lots of easily applicable advice to make you much less vulnerable. Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided – nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favourite band. Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
Always create a unique password for every one of your online accounts. For example, take the first letter of each word in your favourite song lyric, phrase or poem – and use those letters, which appear like a random jumble, as your password.
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