One of the most basic things you need to consider when doing business online is that the World Wide Web is an open arena with no established security. Once you have learned to appreciate that the inte ... [Read more]
The definition of “pwned,” according to the online UrbanDictionary, is “to be dominated by an opponent or situation.” Telling someone they’ve been “pwned” or “owned” after an account has been hacked is also common lingo in the Internet security business. Despite instructing people for years now that they need to change their passwords every six months, make their passwords stronger, avoid using obvious passwords and so forth, millions of people continue to ignore the warnings and get themselves pwned. Here are some of the surprising statistics recently published in an infographic from Instant Checkmate.
Most of us visit 25 password-protected sites on a regular basis. These sites can include our online banking site, social media accounts, email accounts, credit card accounts, etc. However, the averabe person uses only six different passwords for all these sites. Along the same lines, and despite Internet security experts begging us not to, 73 percent of us still use the same passwords for multiple sites. A third of us are crazy enough to use the same password for every single site. Another third of us store our passwords and login information on a cell phone, but two-thirds of us do not password protect those phones. While only 5 percent of men use the names of their significant others as a part of their passwords, 30 percent of women do. Ladies, your partner’s name is one of those “obvious passwords” that you shouldn’t be using.
Experts recommend that we make our passwords at least eight characters long and mix uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Unfortunately, the most common password is still only six characters long and consists entirely of lowercase letters.
Avoid Getting Pwned
The infographic also mentions a frightening fact: Most competent hackers can crack a password in under three minutes. Here’s how to improve your online safety.
- Don’t use anything in a password that a hacker could easily discover by reading your Facebook page. For example, your Facebook page often includes your birthdate; the names of your pets, family members and significant others; the year you graduated high school; your favorite bands, sports teams and a great deal of other personal information.
- Don’t use your email account to store your passwords. All someone needs to do is gain access to your email account and then they pwn you.
- Since so many people find it difficult to remember multiple passwords, create a “base password” and then change an aspect of the password for each site. For example, your base password might be “g!ZM0.” For each site where you have a password, add three letters that are related to that site. For your Google account, your password might become “Gogg!ZM0.” For Bank of America, perhaps it’s “BoAg!ZM0.”
- Just use our password generator and a password management tool.