Online security is very important to help protect your online privacy and personal data from being misused by those that seek to profit, or cause damage, through malicious intent.

One area of online security, which some users often neglect is their passwords, often choosing simple and memorable passwords, that can be easily cracked through automatic processes or gained through Social Engineering.

The company SplashData who specialise in providing password security solutions have released a list of the worst passwords used in 2012.

The data is compiled from the many data breaches that occurred throughout 2012, whereby the hackers then posted the millions of passwords online. Below is a table showing the worst password choices for 2012.

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. abc123
  5. qwerty
  6. monkey
  7. letmein
  8. dragon
  9. 111111
  10. baseball
  11. iloveyou
  12. trustno1
  13. 1234567
  14. sunshine
  15. master
  16. 123123
  17. welcome
  18. shadow
  19. ashley
  20. football
  21. jesus
  22. michael
  23. ninja
  24. mustang
  25. password1

When a site stores someones password, these are usually in some form of encryption, different sites will have different security measures in place. One of the most common ways, used by hackers to decrypt and obtain passwords is through brute-force cracking, whereby a computer program will try every possible key/combination until it is successful. All of the above passwords would have been discovered almost instantly by a hacker.

Some tips to make your password harder to crack and keep your personal data safe is to use a combination of characters, upper and lowercase, with symbols and numbers. For instance if you are someone who uses personal names in your password, such as the name of a family member, etc. mix the way you type it, i.e. – J0hn_Sm1th

If you have multiple accounts (Social, Email, etc.) try to make sure you have multiple passwords, since it is common for people to only use 1 or 2 passwords at a time. When a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, it is easy to trace other accounts held by the compromised user and gain access to the other accounts.

Try to avoid writing your passwords down anywhere. If you have many accounts and various passwords you can use a password manager to keep track of your accounts and passwords. Recommended Password Managers are avaialble at: http://lifehacker.com/5042616/five-best-password-managers.

If you want to test out how secure your password is, and how quickly it can be cracked, visit: http://howsecureismypassword.net/

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