More evidence of humanity’s tendency to laziness (or forgetfulness) has been unearthed. Latest research shows that ‘123456’, ‘password’ and ‘football’ are among the 25 most common passwords.
“Starwars” has even made it into the charts, along with “princess” and “solo”! The data shows that many people are still failing to heed even the most basic security principles about secure codes.
Now, we’ve all done it, haven’t we? Picked something really easy to remember – but also really easy to guess. Wife’s name? Birthday? Pet’s name? First car?
You’d have thought that after the recent Wikileaks and Ashley Madison data exposures, that online users would be more cautious.
But the big problem is the proliferation of passwords. A quick stock check this morning suggests I need to remember or manage more than 45 online passwords (and we’re told that each one should be unique and memorable). I can hardly remember 45 people, let alone 45 unique strings of digits.
What are the options? (1) Write them down but don’t tell the bank you’ve done it. (2). Use the same password for everything. Risky but more practical. (3) Use a password generator and walk around with some kind of storage device (but burying them in your mobile phone address book ain’t secure either).
Software like Apple’s Keychain (which stores password strings under a single passkey)… but Lord help you if you forget your Keychain password.
However, help is at hand. MasterCard is testing an app that will allow selfies to replace online passwords. Participants in Mastercard’s trial will be prompted to snap a photograph of their face using the Mastercard app on their smartphone at the online checkout point, rather than entering a password.
Meanwhile I’m reverting to writing passwords in lemon juice on random pages in my notebook (but please don’t tell anyone else). It’s our secret.
PS. Here’s the list of the Top 25. (A quick poll of the office revealed that at least five of these are in use by the team here… Doh!)
The 25 most common passwords: