Are your passwords easy for you to remember but hard to crack?  A WordPress study of 10 million passwords shows we may not be quite as clever as we think we are.

In general, the length of a password is a key indicator of how hard it will be to crack.  This is because as the password gets longer, the number of ways its constituent parts can be shuffled into a new combination gets exponentially larger and harder to guess (which makes sense).

We make it easier for hackers when we create passwords combining obvious words and numbers in simple ways. 

Here are a few combinations and words that appeared frequently in the study.  If you’re using any of these, either alone or combined with something else, you might consider making a change.

Keyboard Patterns

  • qwerty
  • qwertyuiop
  • 1qaz2wsx
  • qazwsx
  • asdfgh
  • zxcvbnm
  • 1234qwer
  • q1w2e3r4t5
  • qwer1234
  • q1w2e3r4

Colors

  • red
  • blue
  • black
  • green
  • white
  • pink
  • orange
  • brown
  • purple
  • yellow

 Superheroes

  • batman
  • superman
  • ironman
  • hawkeye
  • spiderman
  • gambit
  • wolverine
  • thor
  • punisher
  • cyclops

Days of the Week

  • Friday
  • Monday
  • Sunday
  • Tuesday
  • Thursday
  • Saturday
  • Wednesday

Animals

  • fish
  • bear
  • monkey
  • tiger
  • wolf
  • bird
  • eagle
  • lion
  • fox
  • chicken

Fruits

  • apple
  • orange
  • banana
  • peach
  • lemon
  • cherry
  • mango
  • kiwi
  • grape
  • melon

Phrases using “I love…” and “My…” are also common.  If you use those phrases, make sure you add a few random numbers and other characters to make them a little bit safer.

As a refresher, keep these tips in mind regarding passwords:

  • Use upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters as your device permits.
  • Avoid using a dictionary word alone – it can be hacked in seconds.
  • Avoid passwords that are easily identified with you such as names of pets, family members or hobbies.
  • Use a different password for every account (even though that can be challenging).
  • Don’t share your passwords.   
  • Keep all passwords in a safe place like password-protecting software, not on Post-It Notes in your desk.

If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help with your business IT, contact us.