NEW YORK (MainStreet) — No, your name or the numbers "1234" are not good passwords — what's easy for you to remember is often the first thing thieves and scammers can find out.
Here's a look at some of the least secure and most commonly used passwords out there and why you're taking a risk every time you take a shortcut.
What makes a password unsecure?
Passwords that are short, don't use a combination of letters and numbers or are common dictionary words are not secure, says Bill Carey, vice president of marketing for password manager RoboForm. Secure passwords are at least eight characters and always contain a mix of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers and symbols.
Trying to create strong passwords can be daunting, Carey says, but there are ways to make them easier to remember.
"You can incorporate symbols and numbers that look like letters, such as "f00tb@l1" instead of 'football,'" he says.
Some of the more commonly used passwords today are shockingly easy to guess, says Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com. These include popular dates, words and easy-to-remember combinations such as "abc123."
"While your birthday might be easy to remember, it makes you an easy target," Levin says. "With oversharing on social media, hackers can glean this information and brute force their way into your account."
Using the word "password" may sound ridiculous, but it still remains a popular entry key, Levin says.
"You may as well just hand an identity thief the key to your house and your wallet," he says.