If You’re Using These Passwords, You Could Get Hacked

Former Microsoft head honcho Bill Gates tried to warn us way back in 2004 that the password is dead. But did we listen?

Most of us still insist on remembering a combination of letters and numbers that simply do not protect us from hackers. We stick to the same old basic password, even though Gmail tells us it is “weak”, because, let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and are afraid of forgetting our 50-something logins.

So out of sheer laziness, we willingly compromise on security everyday – cyber security, that is.

In fact, 39% of Australians told the Canstar Blue survey team that they never change their online banking passwords, with another 22% saying they change their password just once per year.

What’s more worrying, nearly 1 in 10 Aussies (8%) say they have shared their online banking passwords with someone else – and nearly the same amount (7%) say they never check their online banking or mobile banking app, so if there was a hack, they wouldn’t notice.

You would think we might have learned our lesson by now, after hacking attacks like the 2012 LinkedIn hack that saw 117 million passwords compromised, the 2012 Adobe hack of 150 million Adobe user accounts. Then there’s the hacks currently doing the rounds in 2017.

USA-based login management service Keeper Security trawled through 10 million passwords that leaked in 2016, and found the world’s most (depressingly) popular logon is “123456”.

Yep – when we think of locking something securely on an online platform, apparently most of us think “123456” will do the job.

And in second place we do not get much more creative, we just added on a few more numbers to make it “123456789”. Wow.

The problem is, our passwords can be guessed quite easily these days by hackers with a smart algorithm and a desire to know our private and personal information.

What is better than passwords?

Passwords clearly are not doing the job for cyber security protection. The answer? Biometric security.

Think fingerprints (even for your credit card), voice recognition, eye iris scans, and even vein scans as your future protection from hackers.

Thankfully, the big banks in Australia are jumping on board with biometric technology. Fingerprint verification is now used by many Aussie banks in their mobile banking apps, including ANZ, CommBank, Suncorp, and Westpac, to name a few.

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Fingerprint scanners are steadily replacing the typed password in many mobile apps, and voice-activated devices have been embraced by the likes of Apple Siri and Google Home, opening the door to endless security possibilities.

Apple has set the stage for the way of the future by embracing “Touch ID” on most of their devices, now including the MacBook Pro, which allows users to login with a fingerprint rather than a typed password.

The next step will be seeing how we can take biometric security and use it to its fullest advantage in all our password logins online, keeping those hackers away from our private accounts.

The top 25 most popular passwords

So finally, here is the full list of the most popular passwords of 2016, according to Keeper Security. If yours is on this list, change it ASAP:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. 12345678
  5. 111111
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234567
  8. password
  9. 123123
  10. 987654321
  11. qwertyuiop
  12. mynoob
  13. 123321
  14. 666666
  15. 18atcskd2w
  16. 7777777
  17. 1q2w3e4r
  18. 654321
  19. 555555
  20. 3rjs1la7qe
  21. google
  22. 1q2w3e4r5t
  23. 123qwe
  24. zxcvbnm
  25. 1q2w3e

Source: Keeper Security, 2016

Check out our other tips on how to stay safe online, and investigate other options such as biometric technology and fingerprint logins.

There are also a couple of government sources for information on how to keep your online details safe – try StaySmartOnline and ScamWatch to get started.

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