Top 25 stolen passwords for 2011 announced
What was the most stolen online password of 2011? "Password." Computer users who think switching the "o" to a zero to make it "passw0rd" didn't fare much better. Both are on the list of the 25 most common passwords used on the Internet this year, according to SplashData, a provider of password management applications.
Other common passwords include simple numerical choices like "123456," common names like "Ashley" and "michael," and patterns based on the layout of the keyboard like "qwerty" and "qazwsx."
SplashData suggests making passwords more secure with these tips:
- Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters. One way to create longer, more secure passwords that are easy to remember is to use short words with spaces or other characters separating them. For example, "eat cake at 8!" or "car_park_city?"
- Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites for online email, social networking and financial services.
- Use a password management application that organizes and protects passwords and can automatically log into websites. There are numerous applications available, but choose one with a strong track record of reliability and security.
- Update virus protection software periodically and after every new virus alert is announced.
- Don't download files or open hyperlinks sent from people you don't know.
- Use a firewall program to prevent your computer from being accessible to hackers.
- Use a secure browser to guard the security of your online transactions.
- Enter personal and financial information only when there is a "lock" icon on the browser's status bar and look for the URL to read "https" versus "http".
- Before disposing of a computer, delete personal information using a "wipe" utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.
- Register for the Online Protection with Visa Checkout.
- Never respond to "phishing" emails.
- When logging in to "Online Banking" or "Online Shopping" sites always type the address of the site into your browser.
- If you must store sensitive information on your laptop:
- Use a strong password - one that is a "hard to guess" combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
- Don't use an automatic login feature.
- Always log off when you're finished.
- Advise your card issuer of any travel plans. Your accounts are monitored based upon your normal spending patterns. Anything out of the ordinary may be considered suspicious.
- If a specific country is blocked due to fraud, we can allow the availability for that card to be used if we know you are traveling.
- Have a backup means of cash in case your card is lost or stolen.
- Be familiar with your surroundings and be cautious of suspicious individuals.
- Sign the back of your plastic or write in the panel "check ID".
- Memorize your PIN number and do not store the number in your wallet or write the number on the card. Re-pin options are available at all branches.
- Keep an eye on your card every time you use it. Try and not let it leave your eyesight.
- Hold on to all receipts for card purchases at least for 1-2 statement cycles.
- Monitor your statement regularly and notify the Credit Union if you see any unauthorized charges.
- Contact us immediately if your card is lost or stolen or you suspect fraudulent activity.
- Do not lend your card to someone to make a purchase for you.
- Keep your purse or wallet safe at all times.
- Do not have your Social Security number or Drivers License number printed on your checks.
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially at ATM's, where your pin information is used.
- Carry only those cards you really need.
- Never respond to phone calls or text messages where your account information is being asked for.
- Shred all statements and pre approved credit card offers with a crosscut shredder.
- Have a "vacation hold" put on your mail if you will not be there to receive it.
- Never sign a blank receipt. Carefully draw a line through any blank portions of the receipt where additional charges may be fraudulently added or changed.
- Remove mail from your mailbox promptly.
- Complete a change of address immediately when moving.
- Know your billing cycles and if you don't receive a statement contact your financial institution.
- Do not give out your checking account information unless you know the company requesting the information and understand why the information is necessary.
- Check your credit reports annually, report any inaccurate information.