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Password weaknesses still a common security threat online

07 February 2014 - 12:28 by Mike Price

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A new report published by Splashdata, has revealed that people are still failing to protect their online accounts with strong passwords. Instead, the most common keywords and phrases are a real risk, which could lead to fraud and make it harder for people to carry out safe shopping online.

The study revealed a list of the 25 most popular passwords from the past 12 months, with 123456 sitting at the top of the charts in terms of deployment and its lack of protective qualities.

Analysts found that one of the other passwords which plenty of people still use in spite of its weakness was directly responsible for a major security breach at Adobe last autumn. So, in spite of the widespread evidence of the problems posed by unsecure passwords, people still seem intent on using them.

Most people have to create a password when shopping online through a fixed account, with this giving you access to the ability to place orders. If you have stored your payment information with an online retailer, then this can be easily exploited should your password be compromised.

The most secure passwords are those which use a random string of letters, numbers and symbols, although this can be difficult to remember. As a result, it might be worth using a series of three or four words which make up a memorable sentence, but which have no relation to you personally.

The main thing to remember is that longer passwords are more secure and you should really be changing them on a semi-regular basis. Perhaps once a year is a reasonable interval for an e-commerce account, especially if you want to avoid the threats which you will face when shopping online in the current climate.