The common cold of our time

The common cold of our time

You know the drill…find a password with a numeral, an asterisk, a capital letter, etc. Believe it or not, these criteria have not been put in place for the amusement of security networks. Any password that can be traced back to you or your family can be used to siphon money out of your accounts or steal your identity.

Over two million accounts from Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were compromised over the course of the past year. Not surprisingly, these security breaches were as a result of individuals' weak passwords.

A recent article on PCC mobile brand highlighted the plague of weak passwords, saying that access to personal information has become one of the key concerns across devices as the number of security attacks across the world continues to grow.

Santam's Audit and Forensics team warns that weak passwords are one of the biggest causes of security breaches and suggest you try 'mixing things up' a bit when it comes to securing your online identity. "The more complex a password is, the harder it is to guess and the more secure it is but the counterargument is that the more complex a password is, the more likely it is to be written down or stored in an easily accessible location." says Santam's head of Audit and Forensic Services, Helen du Toit.

Helen says password security is the 'common cold' of the technological age and that both business owners and individuals fall prey to it. "Password management is now more important than ever before. At Santam, we constantly warn our staff members to check whether their passwords fall into the 'weak category.' This helps to ensure that information about our business and our staff members stay secure."

Santam's Audit and Forensics teams warn business owners and individuals not to write passwords down on desk pads or in diaries. "Never share your passwords with IT support staff or network administrators. It could prove detrimental to you," says Helen.

Some common forms of weak passwords include:

PASSWORD                 NUMBER OF USERS

123456                        15 820

123456789                   4 875

1234                            3 135

password                      2 212

12345                           2 094

12345678                      2 045

admin                           1 991

123                              1 453

111111                         1 046

OTHER COMMON PASSWORD 'FAILS'

  • Your surname
  • Your nickname
  • Your pet's name
  • Your ID number

*Source: Santam Audit and Forensic Services

Visit our business advice page for more useful tips.

Find a broker