The Worst (and Best) Wi-Fi Passwords
From your bank account to your office Wi-Fi, the password you choose can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your business and personal information cyber-secure.
Some experts recommend even changing the secure password you get with the initial set up of your router – you know the one you get from equipment vendors or broadband service providers (often printed on the label on the bottom of the router). And further, many advise changing your Wi-Fi password every six months.
So, What Makes a Great Password?
You’ve heard it before: the advice on the best password. For the most secure password for your Wi-Fi, choose a mix of numbers and letters – the more random, the better. Because if there’s a pattern, a determined hacker will be able to spot it.
Also, avoid using a word you pick from the dictionary as your Wi-Fi password. Hackers can access automated software that can run through the entire dictionary quickly as it scans for your password – making a single word from the dictionary easily detectable and hackable.
And of course, don't choose a password for your Wi-Fi on any other account or network, even if what you created seems perfect.
Simple passwords, such as “password” or sequential numbers, your name or phone number, are easily hacked, which means you’re risking not only your business financial information but that of your family’s and employees.
Unfortunately, it’s still tough advice to follow because the most popular passwords continue to be the weakest ones, according to SplashData, provider of password management applications TeamsID, Gpass, and SplashID.
After evaluating more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet, the company found that computer users continue to use the same predictable passwords.
For the sixth consecutive year, “123456” retained the top spot on SplashData’s Worst Passwords list, followed by “123456789,” which climbed up a position from the previous year.
However, for the first time in the company’s list history, “password” was ousted from the top two spots.
While it’s encouraging that “password,” considered one of the worst among bad passwords, has finally slipped down the list, people continue to use weak, easily-guessable passwords to protect their online information, according to SplashData in a press release issued with its 2019 Worst Passwords list.
SplashData says it compiles and publishes an annual list of the Worst Passwords to inspire people to use stronger passwords.
“Our hope by publishing this list each year is to convince people to take steps to protect themselves online, and we think these and other efforts are finally starting to pay off,” says Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData Inc. “We can tell that over the years people have begun moving toward more complex passwords, though they are still not going far enough as hackers can figure out simple alphanumeric patterns.”
Rounding out the Top 5 on SplashData’s 2019 Worst Passwords list are “qwerty”; “password” and “1234567.”
The Risks of a Bad Password
Cybersecurity experts warn that using a weak password for Wi-Fi can expose information that uniquely identifies you and others on your network. This gives hackers a chance to look at accounts associated with your business and users, such as banking accounts, work-related-emails, social media, etc.
Once in, a criminal could use a packet sniffer to monitor and record your non-secure online activity or could use your Wi-Fi connection to conduct other criminal activity.
Securing Your Wi-Fi Office Network
Even with business-grade Wi-Fi is shared between all active connections you’ll want to be sure that all connections are legitimate and secure, advises Sparklight Business on its website.
Also, the provider says, if you want to provide Wi-Fi access to guests, consider setting up a separate connection that only provides internet access.
“If you share your password with guests, don't forget you’re also granting access to wireless printers, any open shares on your network, unsecured devices, or other wireless connections,” the company says.
No Celebrity Names
SplashData also warns against using celebrity names for your Wi-Fi password, noting that while “donald” was in the top 25 most commonly leaked passwords by hackers in their 2018 list, that wasn’t the case in their recent publishing.
“Invoking the name of the president or any other celebrity as your password is a dangerous decision, one that hackers will exploit and put you at substantial risk of having your identity stolen,” Slain said.
An estimated 10 percent of people have used at least one of the 25 worst passwords listed in the 2019 list, according to SplashData, and almost 3 percent have used the worst password, 123456.
Here’s the rest of the company’s Top 25 Worst Passwords for 2019: