Countries With The Most Secure Passwords
Published November 15, 2016
It’s no secret that passwords should be a secret. Experts are constantly reminding, suggesting, and encouraging that we set up accounts with strong passwords, and that we change those secret words frequently.
With the holiday season approaching, online shopping will no doubt see a spike, which means the use of passwords will increase, too. So how do the passwords for your own online accounts stack up? Are they secure?
In general, the US appears to have room for improvement when it comes to password strength, according to a recent study by Fsecurify, as referenced in Computerworld.com. The company’s study analyzed passwords in the US, Russia, China, Pakistan and India and compared such features as character length and the use of a name or email in the password.
As for password length, the study looked at the number of characters and determined which of the countries had the most passwords of a given length. Russia tends to favor longer passwords, as they had the most number of passwords that were either 11, 12 or 14 characters long. If a password was 6, 7, 8, or 9 digits long, it was likely to belong to someone in the US, meaning we tend to use passwords that are shorter and therefore more vulnerable.
The US did perform better regarding the use of names or emails in a password. On average, China, India and Pakistan all tended to use a name or email in their password more frequently than the US or Russia.
The same company also produced a list of the top patterns found in passwords. From the most common patterns (like using a sequence of 6 lowercase letters followed by 3 digits; and 6 lowercase letters followed by 2 digits), to the most used characters (the letter ‘a’ is most frequently used, followed by the numerals 1 and 2) the US was second to Pakistan in succumbing to repetitive password patterns.
As for the most common passwords (like 12qw23we; secret666; qwerty123; admin123), the US tied with India for 3rd in its use of popular code words.
There is a site designed to analyze how secure your passwords are. Http://random-ize.com evaluates password strength and estimates how long it would take a hacker to break the code. The site does qualify itself noting that none of the passwords being tested are being sent back to its server, ensuring that the entered password remains anonymous. Whether a user is comfortable ‘testing’ passwords on a site like this is an individual choice. It’s up to the user to determine if the benefits of testing a password outweigh the risks.
The moral of the story is that, while often a pain, passwords do exist for a reason. Security is important, and a strong password helps to ensure protection. The general rules of thumb for creating safe passwords are: use long codes; don’t use identifiable words; include digits and special characters; and change your password frequently. While these steps may seem like a hassle, in the end they are far less of a pain than dealing with the repercussions of an account that has been hacked.