Your password choices could be putting all of your private information at risk! According to a recent survey by Google, most people use information that is easily accessible when creating account passwords. So, what does this mean? Most people have passwords that are a hacker’s delight…passwords that can be easily hacked with a few good guesses.

You might ask “What’s wrong with my password? I only used information that is known by a few friends.” Well, that’s a few too many people who know information related to your password. Ok, so only your family and closest friends know that your dog’s name is Fido. In reality, YOUR friends and family know your pet’s name, THEIR friends and family might know your pet’s name, then THOSE people’s friends and family know…Are you getting the picture yet?

We’ve listed, from bad to worse, the most common choices for a password:

  1. Pet names
  2. Important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries
  3. Names of relatives/spouse
  4. Where you were born
  5. Something related to your favorite sports team
  6. The word “Password”

If your method of password creation is on the above list, you might want to take a few minutes to think of something that will be secure. Birthdays, anniversaries, kids’ names, etc., can all be accessed through social media. Other information, such as wedding dates, is public information and can be found easily. The survey also brought to light a couple of other bad password practices. About 48% of the people surveyed admitted to giving their password to others. Also, 3% of those surveyed write down their passwords and leave them in an obvious, highly visible location, such as on the computer desk. These two password habits are serious security faux pas. Would you leave your house unlocked when you are gone? That’s basically what happens when people share or write down their passwords.

To ensure that you have a secure password, it’s best to use gibberish scrambled letters, numbers and symbols. If you have difficulty remembering these types of passwords, you could choose a sentence (such as the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy log) then choose only the first letter of each word (tqbfjotll). Now, this isn’t a completely secure password yet. Once you have your letters chosen, it’s best to have a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters as well as numbers and symbols (tQ#Fj0T!L). There are many methods available to help you choose secure passwords, such as software that you can purchase or free secure password generators online. Securing your important information is extremely important but it doesn’t have to be a headache.