DAYTON, Ohio – 123456.
Your birth date.
Your phone number.
These are just a few examples of the easy-to-crack passcodes and passwords that too many people use to protect their smartphones, mobile devices and online accounts.
If you use any of these or other simple words or numerical combinations, you are asking to be hacked.
“With your accounts, create complex passwords, not something that’s easily hacked,” said Dayton police Sgt. Steve Clark, with the Central Patrol Operations Division’s Investigative Unit. “Make sure that it’s something personal to you that most people don’t know about.”
Earlier this year, security firm Keeper found that the most common password across the globe was 123456.
The firm analyzed millions of leaked passwords.
Other top-ranked secret codes were hardly more secure. They included 12345678, 123456789 and 1234567890.
The third most popular password was qwerty, which is the first six keys on the top left row of the computer keyboard.
Far too many people use the remarkably unimaginative password 111111. And many others can unlock their accounts by just punching in seven 7s in a row.
This is not an isolated issue. The top 25 passwords last year accounted for more than half of the 10 million passwords Keeper analyzed.
The firm says that any of the passwords on its list can be compromised in seconds by dictionary-based cracking tools.
This is part of a larger trend of people not taking the threats to their information and accounts seriously.
Each online account needs its own password so that if one becomes compromised, hackers cannot access a person’s other accounts, which commonly happens, experts said.
And variations of easy-to-guess passwords also are far too popular.
Password management firm SplashData — which also releases a list of popular passwords, based on online leaks — found that password, passw0rd (with a zero instead of an 0) and password1 were among the top 25 most popular codes. Also making the list were login, welcome, football, princess and abc123.
To help prevent passwords from getting hacked, Keeper recommends using a variety of characters including numbers, upper and lowercase letters and special characters.
Dictionary terms, i.e. real words, are not recommended. SplashData recommends using passwords of eight characters or more.
Hackers can find out details about someone’s life and history with a few clicks of the computer mouse.
Photos or posts on Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages broadcast people’s birthdays, anniversaries and other dates that are significant to them or their loved ones.
“I don’t recommend using your phone number, your anniversary or anything like that,” said police Sgt. Clark.
Good passwords can be things that are very memorable and personal but do not include personal identifiable information, according to Norton, the maker of antivirus software.
Some accounts allow people to make unlimited password guesses without being locked out, which allows hackers to utilize password-cracking software that runs through every word in the dictionary, according to the privacy and information security department at the University of Illinois.