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Is your computer safe? Depends on your password

(Photo by Michael Smith/Newsmakers) Photo: Image by Getty Images

Is your computer safe? Depends on your password

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Jan 21, 2014

The recent security breach at Target has many worried about identity theft, but is your own computer at home safe from hacking? It’s not if your password is too easy to figure out.

That was an issue for far too many people in 2013.
 
“According to password management company SplashData, the top three passwords of [last] year are ‘123456,’ ‘password’ and ‘12345678,’” reports CBS News. “The top three passwords haven't changed, but ‘123456’ and ‘password’ swapped places from last year. The company's list of the ’25 worst passwords of the year’ was compiled using data that hackers have posted online, which are said to be stolen passwords.”
 
According to CBS, “Words like ‘jesus,’ ‘football’ and ‘ninja’ -- which were popular [the previous] year -- dropped off the list in 2013. 
 
SplashData suggests several tips for making your passwords more hack-proof. They include using passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters. 
 
“One way to create more secure passwords that are easy to recall is to use passphrases -- short words with spaces or other characters separating them,” CBS News reports. “It's best to use random words rather than common phrases. For example, ‘cakes years birthday’ or ‘smiles_light_skip?’
 
“Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites that you do for online email, social networking, or financial service sites. Use different passwords for each new website or service you sign up for.”
 
Here are the 25 most common passwords of 2013, noting which ones were new to the list in 2013.
 
1.  123456
 
2.  password
 
3.  12345678
 
4.  qwerty
 
5.  abc123
 
6.  123456789 (New)
 
7.  111111
 
8.  1234567
 
9.  iloveyou
 
10.  adobe123 (New)
 
11.  123123
 
12.  admin (New)
 
13.  1234567890 (New)
 
14.  letmein
 
15.  photoshop (New)
 
16.  1234 (New)
 
17.  monkey
 
18.  shadow
 
19.  sunshine
 
20.  12345 (New)
 
21.  password1
 
22.  princess (New)
 
23.  azerty (New)
 
24.  trustno1
 
25.  000000 (New)
Phyllis Stark

Phyllis Stark

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Phyllis Stark is the Digital Executive Producer - National Content for Journal Broadcast Group.