Avoid These Password Categories to Stay Safe Online

The best way to ensure your information is safe is to keep your passwords complicated and stay away from these categories.

You may know some of the easiest passwords to guess, but a new study has come out that shows which password categories are the most vulnerable to being hacked.

Password security remains the best way to protect yourself online. Unfortunately, the average user doesn’t take it seriously, with 85% people admitting that they use the same password on more than one account.

If you want to protect your business from password-related security breaches, you’re going to need a few tips and tricks, and this list of questionable password categories is a good place to start.

Top 20 Most Commonly Hacked Password Categories

Research from card payment solutions company Dojo found that easy to guess passwords aren’t your only problem. There are password categories that are also vulnerable to hackers and knowing what they are can help you protect yourself online.

Here are the top 20 most commonly hacked password categories, paired with the number of breached passwords that include the top 20 words/phrases in that category:

1. Pet names/terms of endearment – 4,032
2. Names – 3,913
3. Animals – 2,112
4. Emotions – 1,917
5. Food – 1,662
6. Colors – 1,450
7. Swear words – 1,268
8. Actions – 991
9. Family Members – 723
10. Car Brands – 606

11. Cities – 505
12. Brands – 477
13. Countries – 463
14. Sports – 457
15. Religions – 341
16. Hobbies – 314
17. Weather – 313
18. Drinks – 268
19. Social media platforms – 253
20. Star Signs – 204

The study attributes the scourge of easy passwords to the proliferation of online services combined with password fatigue — which is described as “the feeling experienced by many people who are required to remember an excessive number of passwords as part of their daily routine.” With more and more businesses going remote and utilizing tools that requires passwords to do it, it’s only fair that the average user might be running out of brain space to store all these passwords.

“To cope with password fatigue, people reuse the same password across multiple websites, using simple and predictable password creation strategies. Attackers exploit these well-known coping strategies, leaving individuals vulnerable.”

How important is password security?

In so many words, very important. In fact, according to data from Verizon, 81% of business security breaches were due to poor password security on the part of an employee. And considering data breaches continue to cost businesses millions of dollars every year, it’s safe to say that shoring up your password security is a worthwhile investment.

Still, avoiding certain categories and adding nonsensical characters and numbers to your passwords can only do so much. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your company is secure from a password standpoint.

For one, set up multi-factor authentication immediately. 99% of password-related hacks can be prevented with this simple, free feature, making it the most obvious choice for businesses.

Additionally, you can also get a password manager. Whether it be for individual or business use, these platforms are incredibly secure, easy to use, and have virtual no risk when it comes to security and privacy. Take a look at our best password managers guide and check out some of our top providers in the table below.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.
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