Weak Passwords Enable Cyber Attacks, Report Finds, So Here Are 4 Passwords You Should Never, Ever Use

TO GO WITH ASIA MALAYSIA INTERNET SOCIAL FEATURE BY SARAH STEWART A Malaysian professional writes her password to enter facebook for social networking in Kuala Lumpur on October 31, 2010. Malaysians are the most popular people on the Internet, while Japanese are the least, according to a global survey which shows how national cultures are reflected in online behaviour. Malaysians won the Internet popularity contest with an average of 233 friends in their social network, compared to 68 in China and just 29 in Japan, according to the Digital Life study by global research firm TNS. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

In the 21st century, getting your credit card information is something everyone should be afraid of, but it seems not everyone is taking all the necessary precautions to avoid it. According to a new report, weak passwords enabled half of all attacks on point-of-sale systems to steal credit card information in 2014. Because apparently people are still making "password1" the only thing standing between their money and greedy thieves.

The report by Trustwave Cybercriminals reveals that as things stand today, cybercrime actually does pay. Based on their analysis, trying to steal credit card info can bring you a 1,425 percent return on your investment. Basically, the start up costs for the type of equipment you need for such a scam run about $5,900 a month. But assuming that you're able to successfully infect 10 percent of your targets, the payout is about $90,000. Pretty wild, no? 

But my intention here is not to lure you into a life of crime. No, the point is that with those kinds of figures, you can bet there are lots of people trying to steal your passwords, meaning you need them to be secure. Unfortunately, the report found that "password1" is still the most common password, which is not good at all. 

Charles Henderson, vice president of managed security testing at Trustwave, remarked, “You would think it would be blacklisted," but sadly it isn't. Nor is it the only terrible password idea out there. Here are four other passwords you absolutely shouldn't use.

1. Any Variation of Your Name

You don't need any fancy equipment to crack someone's password if it happens to be their middle name combined with their birthday. Even your annoying little brother can get you with that one.

2. 123456

For some reason, this is still a highly popular password, along with other clever variations such as "12345678," "1111111," and "abc123," despite the fact that they are terrible

3. LetMeIn

You might think you're being clever, but actually, you're about the millionth person to come up with this very obvious idea. And the same goes for other "witty" passwords like "opensesame" and "trustno1." They might be funny, but they aren't going to do the job.

4. Monkey

For some reason, this is one of the most popular passwords around today. There's nothing inherently wrong with it (though it should really also include numbers), but it does happen to be easy to guess. Other random words that people strangely gravitate towards for passwords include "football" and "superman."

Of course, if you really want your password to be safe, you should always include numbers, both capitalized and lowercase letters, and ideally symbols. And if you want to test your password creating strength, you can try out some sample passwords on the site How Secure Is My Password. I wouldn't recommend typing your real ones in, but you can construct fake ones that are similar to your real ones to see how long they might take to crack. Not to brag, but this is how one of mine theoretically fares. 

Images: Giphy (4)

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