Thursday is “Change Your Password Day,” a national observance of password security and best practices. Passwords are often the first line of defense protecting users from criminals with the malicious intent of invading systems and stealing data, a threat which emphasizes the importance for people to use strong and diverse passwords.

Unfortunately, many Americans continue to use weak, insecure, and easy-to-crack passwords. After compiling more than 5 million leaked passwords from 2017, password management application provider SplashData released its 100 Worst Passwords of 2017. According to the report, “123456” and “password” held the top two spots as the most-used and cracked passwords for the fourth consecutive year.

Americans’ seeming disregard of password security best practices is even more alarming when we consider that the number of U.S. data breaches in 2017 topped the all-time record set the year prior. Data Breach Cybersecurity reported in July that more than 6 billion records were exposed in the first half of 2017 alone, up from 1.5 billion in 2016.

While the Data Breach Cybersecurity report found that the business sector accounted for more than half (56.5 percent) of the total breaches, University of Phoenix’s annual cybersecurity survey found that 43 percent of U.S. adults have experienced a personal data breach in the past three years. However, when it comes to password security, the majority are doing very little to keep themselves secure.

The survey found that only 42 percent of Americans diversify their passwords across websites, 35 percent update their passwords on a regular basis, and less than a quarter (24 percent) change or update their passwords before traveling. The survey also found that workplace cybersecurity is also at risk: only 29 percent consider password protecting part of their company’s cybersecurity policy.

Most Americans are aware that they should avoid using (Read more...)