(KFVS) - What's your online password? If it's "password" watch out! That's the single most popular log in used to access online accounts and one of the most easily hacked by cybercriminals, according to the AARP.
The April issue of AARP Bulletin give these 25 Passwords to avoid:
Easiest to guess (and steal)
The AARP also suggest these tips to make your password safer.
Changing the "o" to a zero—"passw0rd"—is not much better. It ranks as the 18th most common, according to SplashID, a company that produces password management software. And with more websites now requiring passwords to include both letters and numbers, you may think you're safe with "abc123."Think again. That password ranked fifth.
Some new trends have popped up in SplashID's analysis of millions of passwords. Joining the longtime "don't use" password "qwerty"—the top left letters on a keyword—is "qazwsx," a top-to bottom sequence on the left. There's also increased use of common names. Officials, however, are baffled by the popularity of "monkey" and "shadow."
But what's clear is that using any of these passwords significantly increases your risk of identity theft. Although cybercrooks sometimes apply sophisticated hacking software, they're more likely to depend on the old-fashioned method: repeatedly trying common passwords to log into your account.
Here's how to make passwords harder to hack yet easier to remember:
Go long. Use at least 12 keystrokes. One study shows that a good 12-character password would take hackers more than 17,000 years to crack.
Mix it up. Use upper- and lowercase letters, spaces and underscores, and symbols like @ and %.
Finesse your favorites. For easier recall, base your passwords on foods you like, TV shows or first letters of a song, but with tweaks, symbols and conscious misspellings.
Whatever you choose, use different passwords to access online financial accounts, email, social networking and even to post comments on websites. Consider changing them every 90 days or so. To gauge password protection, go to microsoft.com/security and select "Create Strong Passwords."