Password Security

Tue 1st Apr 2014

For years the most commonly used password was 'password,' but recent data collected by Splashdata has revealed that the most commonly used password is now '123456' and 'password' has slipped to second place. Other popular passwords include '12345678,' 'qwerty' and 'abc123.'

With so many computer based logins now required in daily life, it's now wonder that people are choosing simplistic options, unfortunately though passwords are required in order to protect sensitive information so we all need to put a bit more effort in!

We are also always advised never to use the same password twice, but I'm not sure there is a person on earth who could realistically do this with the sheer number of online and computer based accounts many of us now have. I think that we can all aim to have three or four passwords which we can swap between, this protects us to some extent and gives us all something more practical to aim for.

How to choose a password

  1. Don't use anything too obvious as mentioned above, 'password,' 'letmein' and any key, numerical or alphabetical sequences. Choosing birth dates, the names of children, pets or family members is also unwise unless combined with other letters, numbers or symbols.
  2. Your password should never relate to your user, account name or back up email address.
  3. Don't choose something so obscure that you have to write it down, then you run the risk of somebody finding it.
  4. Use at least eight characters of a mixture of letters and numbers and try to include both upper and lower case characters. Some passwords won't allow punctuation, symbols and spaces but use these too if you can.

Password ideas

  1. You could use the first letter of each word from your favourite song lyric, quote or the beginning of a book eg. 'It was a bright cold day in April, -' could become: IwabcdiA
  2. Choose something you can remember but other people are unlikely to such as the number plate of your first car with one or two uppercase characters.
  3. Use two short words separated by a symbol or a couple of numbers. eg. audi£chair

Many of the websites I build have a Content Management System which allows my clients to add their own content and while I do my best to make sure that it is secure, in most cases it will only ever be as secure as the password the client chooses!

by Rachel Watson