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A password has always been the most important component of protecting a digital identity. However, a lot of people still use simple passwords in modern times in many nations, including India. These are just straightforward alphabetical or numeric sequences of letters or even birth dates.
The top 200 most popular passwords in India were published by NordPass (1), along with the time it took to break each one. This list included "12345678," ranked 10; breaking takes less than a second. 73% of the top 200 passwords in 2022 are the same as those in 2021, and 83% can be broken in under a second, according to this year's data.
India is now ranked fourth on the list of countries experiencing consumer loss due to cybercrime as of 2017, according to a Statista analysis (2), as people are not making enough effort to create secure passwords to prevent their IDs from being hacked. The situation is likewise not particularly different globally, as the top two most popular passwords are still "password" and "123456."
Other passwords are also easily cracked, including "guest," "qwerty," "iloveyou," and "111111" in India. Attackers used to find it difficult to guess passwords because there were so many weak ones, like "password" or "123456," but now they use tools and powerful hardware to crack passwords instead of trying to guess them.
Password cracking software employs algorithms to repeatedly enter combinations until it finds the proper one, along with a collection of phrases and numbers for automatically guessing passwords.
Here's the list of the top 10 popular passwords:
According to a different report from Tom's Hardware (3), the RTX 4090, the most recent GPU from Nvidia, can break eight good and strong passwords in less than an hour. According to the NordPass report, only a few people use stronger passwords, as indicated by these numbers.
Awareness of all your online accounts is the first step in avoiding becoming a target of choice because the most popular passwords are the ones that attackers can easily guess without using these sophisticated tools. The backdoors to your digital security may be simple accounts you've forgotten, like old email IDs.
The next rule is always to use strong passwords that are not just a certain number of characters long but also a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. More importantly, they should be random and not based on pre-established words, phrases, or patterns. The 34th most popular password globally and the sixth most popular in India is "pass@123," a combination of letters, numbers, and a symbol.
Another example is the "p@ssw0rd" entry, which is listed as India's 17th most popular password, according to the report. The best passwords are lengthy, unique, and impossible to guess; the strongest ones are those you must memorize character by character.
Note: Two-factor authentication must be used whenever feasible for added security.