Password security works if you approach it right. The fact is, however, that many of us don’t place as much thought and effort into it as we could. The worst passwords are the ones that take a few seconds (or zero seconds) to think up. Some of the examples of the worst passwords people used last year are below in an infographic we call “The Worst Passwords of 2016.” (Be warned—many are cringeworthy.)
These passwords in the infographic were sourced from the article “We Still Suck at Passwords,” written by Dan Gardiner, editor-in-chief for APC Magazine in North Sydney. He sympathizes with the plight of our password predicament to a point:
“I get it: passwords are hard. Having to invent different log-ins to every site and service you use would be a monumental task, so the temptation to take shortcuts is perfectly understandable … in this age of ubiquitous hacks, where even big companies like Yahoo! are at risk, that’s just asking to be fleeced.”
He’s absolutely right. That’s why Gardiner recommends using a “password manager” like the one at LastPass. Cloud-based services like this help you simplify the process of generating passwords across multiple apps and devices. Here is a list of some of the other most highly recommended ones.
A Few Good Password Practices
Follow these tips to avoid ending up in the next publication of our worst passwords (because you just know there will be one for 2017 next year).
- Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols if possible.
- Choose passwords that are at least 8–12 characters in length.
- Avoid using adjacent keyword combinations that are easy to figure out.
- If you can think of something personal to you alone (something your best friend, your spouse, or your dog doesn’t even know about), you can build a password around that concept.
- Use a mixture of upper- and lower-case spelling.
- Do not use the names of people you know.
There are obviously more best practices to consider, but these will get you thinking. If you’re doing these things already, well done.
Without further delay, here are the worst passwords of 2016. Avoid at all costs.