The best time to change a terrible password is two years ago, but the second best time is now. So if your password is "12345," "12345678," or any variation thereof, stop what you're doing and fix it. The same goes for "password," "qwerty," or any default passwords like "access" that you haven't bothered to change.
This advice should be obvious by now. Yet year after year, these come up on the most-guessed passwords of the year, and it's no different for 2014. Splash Data's annual list of most-guessed passwords of the year is out, and the same stunningly bad passwords top the list.
For 2014, "123456" and "password" take the number one and two slots. Other easily guessed passwords on the list include "baseball," "dragon," "football," "batman" and "letmein." Even X-Files fans who should really know better haven't shied away from "trustno1," which rounds out the list.
A good password uses a combination of letters, numbers or symbols. Or, according to Randall Munroe at xkcd, you can try stringing together four random words in an order they'd otherwise never appear – something that's easy for humans to remember, but hard for computers to guess. Experts disagree on which is the very best kind of password, but one thing they can agree on is that using "michael," "superman," or any other single word or obvious group of digits is asking for trouble.
As we've seen in recent security breaches, though, a good password alone may not be enough, so follow these seven tips to keep yourself from getting hacked.
This article was originally published on PopularMechanics.com