Passwords protect some of our most personal information from prying eyes, but despite their critical role, millions are still relying on lacklustre combinations to keep their data safe. And when we say "lacklustre", we really mean it.
A list of the most common passwords of 2023 has been published and shockingly "123456" is in first place. The uncreative password was used over 4.5 million times by users online, researchers say, with the word "admin" a close second with 4 million uses worldwide.
Cybersecurity researchers worked with the team at NordPass – the password management software developed by the same minds as NordVPN – to put together the definitive list of the most common passwords of the year.
To do this, they scoured a database of 4.3TB (that's a whopping 4,300,000MB) extracted from a number of high-profile password leaks on the Dark Web to find the passwords that people relied on more than any others. NordPass only received statistical information from the researchers, there was no personal data included in the findings sent to the password management team.
Hackers can break into accounts secured by passwords like "123456" and "admin" in under a second, researchers at NordPass confirmed. If you have any online accounts protected with one of these passwords, then it's time to change to something new – and much more secure.
Some websites have strict conditions for passwords, forcing account holders to use at least one letter, number, and special characters. These conditions have pushed passwords like "P@ssw0rd" into the top 30 passwords worldwide, but unfortunately, it's done little to make users' data safer. According to NordPass, "P@ssw0rd" can be unlocked by hackers in under one second.
A troubling 70% of the list of most commonly used passwords can be hacked in seconds, researchers say.
If you're struggling to think of something, using the first letter from each word in a line of poetry, a saying, or a song lyric that you're unlikely to forget can be a great way to quickly generate what appears to be a completely random jumble of characters.
Password managers are also a popular way of securing your online account. These applications generate secure passwords for every account, with these stored in an encrypted safe that can be accessed from any of your devices. To login, most of these applications only require a quick biometric check – facial recognition on the iPhone or a fingerprint scan on Windows PCs and Android.
Although there are high hopes for passkeys, with Google even calling its rollout "the beginning of the end of the password", they're unlikely to eliminate old-fashioned passwords for some time. For the time being, we're still stuck with passwords for a huge number of our online accounts ...as such, it's time to ditch "password123" and think of something a little stronger.
Top 10 Most Common Passwords