Weak passwords can lead to brute-force attacks, which allow hackers to guess combinations by riddling random phrases or codes using cryptography. Using a single password across multiple accounts also leads to password-spraying.
The most commonly used password this year would take less than a second for cybercriminals to crack. And it was used more than 2.5 million times throughout the year, exposing people to cyberattacks more than 20 million times in 2020, according to password management service NordPass.
The service noted that ‘123456’ as the most commonly used password this year, followed by ‘123456789’, with almost a million usages. Accounts with this password were susceptible to breach more than 7.8 million times. Other common passwords included ‘password’, ‘picture1’, and ‘qwerty’.
Of the top 10 common passwords, eight could be cracked in less than a second, putting users at higher risks of data breach.
More than 50 passwords on the list consisted of only numbers, including ‘111111’ and ‘000000’. More than 30 on the list were random names like ‘ashley’ and ‘michael’. ‘Aaron431’ was the most popular password by name this year, beating ‘ashley’ that ranked first last year, according to NordPass.
Using a single password across multiple accounts also leads to password-spraying, which lets cybercriminals access all affiliated user accounts by deciphering the code. They can then access sensitive information like credit card details and addresses.
Some common way to protect from cyberattacks is to refrain from using personal information like birthdate, name, and contact details in passwords. A 12-character long password with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, and symbols makes it harder to crack, NordPass noted.