Are you using one of the top 20 Most Common Passwords?

The recent hack of Gawker Media which runs such websites as Gizmodo and io9 and another hack in December at Rockyou.com- have displayed internet users password habits, and I must say- they are atrocious! I will teach you how to avoid being a victim and give you tips and directions to change your passwords into something hackers will have a hard time cracking.

123456? Are you serious?  Use some common sense and don’t use passwords like these!

TOP 20 MOST COMMON PASSWORDS ON THE INTERNET:
123456
12345
123456789
Password
iloveyou
princess
rockyou
1234567
12345678
abc123
Nicole
Daniel
babygirl
monkey
Jessica
Lovely
michael
Ashley
654321
Qwerty

Really?  Are we that stupid?  It wouldn’t even take a brute hack program or a skilled hacker to figure those out.  My grandma could probably hack your email account and look in your sent folder to obtain passwords to your other accounts, steal your identity, and be sailing on a beautiful yacht purchased in your name- all over the world.

Many people used their first name as their username, so you could probably hack someone’s account at any website by typing in “Nicole” “123456” or some combination of those two.

Recently since running NERDTREK.com, I have come under attack by hackers who have attempted to hijack my website, email, facebook, and many other aspects of my small startup blog.  Luckily, not only do I change my passwords and usernames often, but I also have a strict procedure for creating passwords. I would now like to share some of my password habits with you so that you are not compromised as these people have been.

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD PASSWORD:

Step 1: Choose a combination of 2 words that you can remember, but are not obvious.  For example you drive a Mustang and you have a cat named Tadpole, start with Mustangtadpole.

Step 2: Capitalize the first letter of both words.  Example: MustangTadpole

Step 3: Add a number at the end.  Example: MustangTadpole8

Step 4: Add a couple different characters at the beginning or end.  Example: MustangTadpole8#!

Step 5: If you really want to get complicated you can add another word or two or some additional characters.  Final Example: $$Mustang!Tadpole8#!$$

Step 6: Write it down!  Keep it someplace safe like in a lockbox.  I don’t even write down certain passwords like my bank account, websites, and email.  Those are over 35 characters long and I keep them in my head.

You don’t have to get THIS articulate about your choice of passwords, but it is a good reminder that if you wish to keep your identity your own you will exercise better judgement in the future.  Now go out there and change those passwords!  I have faith in you!

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA.

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