Episode 11: Password Fundamentals

Passwords have been used with computers since the earliest days of computing. 

In 1961 MIT introduced The Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS), an operating system that was the first computer system to implement password login. Previous to this you had to be in the same room as a computer and that was good enough security. Early computer systems were large and in secure facilities. With access limited to few specific people passwords weren’t necessary.

Now the majority of people have between 80 and 100 passwords. That is a lot to remember.

Because most people have so many password, the reuse the same passwords between accounts. While this makes it easier to access your accounts, it also makes them less secure and helps hackers.

While we think our passwords are unique, findings show that many people in the world use the same things. Making it a very fast process for the hackers to breach accounts.

According to NordPass, the top 10 most used passwords worldwide which could be cracked in less than a minute were:

  1. 123456– used 103,170,552 times
  2. 123456789– used 46,027,530 times
  3. 12345– used 32,955,431 times
  4. qwerty– used 22,317,280 times
  5. password– used 20,958,297 times
  6. 12345678 – used 14,745,771 times
  7. 111111 – used 13,354,149 times
  8. 123123 – used 10,244,398 times
  9. 1234567890 – used 9,646,621 times
  10. 1234567 – used 9,396,813 times

The best way to protect yourself from data breeches is to have unique passwords for each site. This may seem extreme, but if you want your data to be more protected, this is the most secure password practice.

Tips for creating secure passwords include

  • Do not use your name or other personal information
  • Use a passphrase rather than a single word
  • Combine upper and lower case letters
  • Add symbols
  • Make your password 12 characters or longer
  • Use Multi-factor authentication

In a future post we will discuss password managers and why you should use one.

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