On Sunday 21st April 2019, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) published a list of the 100,000 most commonly breached passwords and while it was dominated by passwords you would expect to top the list, such as 'Password' and '123456', there were some rather less obvious passwords that were breached too. In at number 89 was 'Killer', while number 105 was 'blink182' and somewhat ironically, number 177 was 'trustno1'.
It serves as a timely reminder of the importance in choosing a secure password, with NCSC revealing that 70 per cent of the public believe they will be a victim of cyber crime in the next two years.
How secure is my password?
Pretty much everything requires a password these days and so it is likely that you have created many passwords over the years. You may even have stored your passwords using an app or some kind of password management software. Now is a good time to review those passwords and make sure that they are secure. You can use a simple online checker such as how secure is my password, and it will rate your password's strength using a traffic light system. It doesn't record your password anywhere (and it will hide the characters as you type).
The most breached animal related password is 'Monkey', while the most breached football related password is 'Liverpool'.
How can I make my password stronger?
There are many things you can do to reduce your chances of having your password breached and they include:
Mix it up
You should ensure you have a good mix of lower and upper case characters, as well as numbers and symbols.
Consider using three random words
The NSCS ran an ad campaign in 2016 recommending that people choose three random words and you can read their blog which explains their reasoning by clicking on the link. In short, three random words should be fairly easy to remember, but very hard to guess.
Two Factor Authentication
You should always consider turning 'two factor authentication' on, if there is the option to do so. It is an extra layer of security that requires not only a password and username but also something that the user has on them, such as a phone.
Devices are now allowing you to login using fingerprint and retina scan technology and while it can be temperamental at times, it is surely better to spend a little longer logging in for the extra security.
Use a random password generator
If you are stuck for ideas, then you can have a password created for you by using a strong password generator tool.
Don't leave it to chance, if you are questioning whether your passwords are strong enough, then the answer is that they probably aren't. Take action now using our tips above. If you want to find out a little more, we covered the subject in our podcast in January 2016 and provide a few extra tips and tricks, check out our embedded episode below. Forward to 2 minutes and 46 seconds.