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Is your password as secure as you think?

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Gabriela Patrón
ByPor Gabriela Patrón

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Daily, millions of users log in to distinctive accounts, using a variety of services like email, video and music platforms, and even bank accounts. For this reason, it’s necessary to use proper password security to avoid outsiders gaining access to your protected information. 

In spite of the fact that the data on these platforms is extremely important, many users protect it with extremely insecure passwords. An annual study by SplashData analyzed over 5 million passwords filtered in 2018. The results indicate that the most used codes are really quite easy. The 10 worst passwords, most used in 2018, were: 123456, password, 123456789, 12345678, 12345, 111111, 1234567, sunshine, qwerty, and iloveyou. Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, stated that “using your name, or any common name, as a password is dangerous.” 

Repeating Passwords

The tech giant Google conducted a survey using its browser, Google Chrome, in order to determine how its users protect information. It used 21 million users’ information and passwords. The results revealed a total of 316 thousand passwords as insecure.  

It was determined that, with the exception of social networks,  users are 2.5x more likely to reuse passwords vulnerable to hackers. Among at-risk accounts are those related to personal finances,  government, and work email. The webpages most prone to filtering information were shopping sites, which save sensitive information like credit cards. Also vulnerable are entertainment and news sites with login credentials. 

As such, Google decided to create a Chrome extension called Password Checkup. The tool’s release came in the framework of Safer Internet Day. The application was developed alongside researchers from Stanford University and Google cybersecurity specialists. In its press release, the company assured that the extension avoids outside people and companies learning the details of users’ accounts.  

How does Password Checkup work?

This program analyzes usernames and passwords and lets people know if their passwords have been compromised. To do so, the tool scans a total of 4 thousand million credentials exposed in the latest mass-filtered cyber attacks worldwide. 

The company also announced that 25.7% of the extension’s alerts are ignored. Password Checkup suggests new credentials to its users, with 60% of them more secure before guessing hackers.  According to Google, cyberattacks would need to do 100 million guesses in order to access these accounts. Another vulnerability detected by the extension is that people tend to use only one password for various profiles and platforms. According to a Google survey, 65% of users confess to this practice.   

How to create secure passwords?

If you want to protect your account from possible hacks, here are some recommendations to improve your password security. First, never use the same passwords for different platforms, given that you put your information at risk in case of a security breach. Second, use alphanumeric passwords. You can use websites like Password Generator to get personalized credentials. Third, try to change your password at least every 6 months. If the platform that you use contains sensitive information, this change should be every 2 months. And finally, it’s good to rely on a paid antivirus system,  since many of them feature password protection and data ciphering systems. Remember that you can never be too careful when it comes to your information.