Despite constant warnings, we still use weak passwords. It’s time to change that and take care of online safety!

Despite constant warnings, we still use weak passwords.  It's time to change that and take care of online safety!

The topic of strong and secure passwords is constantly on the web. The attitudes are theoretically known to most of us, but when it comes to applying them in practice … Well, it is sometimes different and usually poor, as shown by the list of the most popular slogans in Poland and in the world. Therefore, we would like to remind you once again – a strong password is the basis of online security!

A strong password, which is what?

When creating a new account on various websites, the most common requirement is to create a string of characters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and some special characters. In addition, there must be an appropriate number of them, and the entire sequence should preferably be random. When you invent such a password yourself, you may not create an unbreakable security, but it is certainly better than the classic “1234 …”. Of course, as long as we only use it in one place and not in most of our accounts.

If we look at the first-best global password statistics, the results listed there can make you dizzy. According to the lastPass statement from 2021 – over 50% of Internet users use the same password on many accounts, and 60% (MSN, data for 2021) say directly that they are too lazy when coming up with passwords, which is why they often use the same password. . And if changes are already made, the new slogan is similar to the previous one (2/3 of the respondents, according to MSN, 2021).

Until some time ago, out of laziness, I used variations of the same slogan on different accounts. In theory, it met all “security” requirements. In theory … It was only after my Steam account was stolen that I realized that it “didn’t work that way” and that I seriously took care of my online safety.

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According to Scientific American, a 12-character password is 62 trillion times more difficult to crack than a 6-character password. A huge difference, isn’t it? We can achieve even greater security by using two-step verification and / or a password generated by the password manager. In this case, we do not have to remember them and invent them ourselves, the manager (e.g. one built in the browser) will do it for us. It will safely store login details that we will be able to use even after changing the device.

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The most popular keywords in the world? “123456” still reigns

If you’ve watched Spider-Man: Far From Home, you will surely know the scene in which Peter asks Happy (by the way, the security officer) for the password for his phone. What was his answer? “Password”. Fun scene, isn’t it? After all, who uses such a slogan today? Well … On its blog, ExpressVPN has listed the most popular terms in the world, broken down by country. “123456” is still the global king in this topic, but “password” is also used frequently, as it is inflected in several languages. Too often…

If we look at the most popular strings in each country, we see that many of them refer to something that is popular in that country. In Italy, the fourth most popular slogan is “juventus”, and in Turkey, in the top ten, “Anathema” – probably from the name of the British band.

In Poland, we rather like the classics – 123456, qwerty, even more numbers, Polish … The list also includes “Mateusz” (from Father Mateusz?) And zaq12wsx. Overall, the tendency to use first names in passwords is global; well, according to the data, 40% of the top 150 passwords contain a first name, either female or male.

Most of the data presented by ExpressVPN comes from an independent password leakage study courtesy of Github user Ata Hakçıla, and is based on the language of the linked websites.

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We’ve covered the topic of secure passwords, again in theory we know how to protect ourselves online, but is that enough?

In the era of ubiquitous cyber attacks, a secure password alone may not be enough. Two-factor verification will help a lot here, but it doesn’t hurt to have the extra precaution of a VPN app.

What is it actually?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the easiest and most effective way to secure your own internet traffic and hide your online identity. As soon as you connect to a secure VPN server, your internet traffic will flow through an encrypted tunnel that no one can see – neither hackers, nor the government, nor your ISP

– we can read on the Express VPN website.

Of course, you can delve into all the nuances of the operation of such secure networks, but we prefer to focus on the specifics, i.e. what such a VPN gives us.

  • Change of location – VPN will give us a new IP address, by which we can be identified and located on the network. For people who would like to follow us, our computer will be visible as one of the devices, e.g. in Germany, Japan or Canada. It all depends on where the VPN provider has its servers. Here I will add that it is not only a way to protect privacy, but also to unblock content (e.g. movies and series on American Netflix) that are normally not available in our country. It is simply a gateway to the unlimited Internet.
  • Hiding identity – we know very well that many websites, applications and services want to learn as much as possible about us. A good VPN network, thanks to strong encryption, will not only protect us from such websites, but even hide activity from the Internet service provider or mobile operator.
  • Increased protection – we talked about secure passwords, but even the strong ones can be attacked when we enter them when connected to an untrusted Wi-Fi network or being attacked by sniffing programs. On the go, when working remotely, using the Internet outside your home, it doesn’t really matter. A good VPN will protect you everywhere. It is also worth mentioning here that a VPN is also very useful when sharing files on the network, because thanks to it, no one will be able to see our IP address, let alone what we download or share. And if you like online shopping and you are annoyed by the fact that prices can fluctuate every now and then or are higher depending on the country – there is no such problem with a VPN.
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ExpressVPN offers all of this, so we encourage you to take a look at the company’s offer. Especially that we get a guarantee that if we do not like the service, we will get a refund.