Published on November 16, 2023, 11:14 pm

Have you ever struggled to create or enter a password on your TV screen? Using a remote control to type each character can be frustrating, leading many people to opt for short and simple passwords. However, this is not a good idea, as cybercriminals target weak and insecure passwords used on streaming services.

Password manager NordPass recently analyzed the 200 most commonly used passwords worldwide and found that individuals still rely on weak passwords despite the risks of malware, theft, and account compromise. In fact, the password ‘123456’ has remained the top choice for four out of the past five years. Regardless of which password people use from the top ten list, all of them could be cracked by hackers in less than a second.

The issue becomes even more concerning when it comes to streaming service passwords. NordPass discovered that passwords used for streaming platforms are generally weaker on average. This may be due to people sharing their passwords with others or having to type them on a TV. Weak passwords pose a significant problem as they are easy targets for malware that can steal personal information stored in browsers, such as usernames, email addresses, saved credentials, autofill data, and even credit card details.

To compile this list of common passwords, NordPass collaborated with independent cybersecurity researchers who analyzed massive databases sourced from public sites and the dark web that contained stolen passwords. The researchers also identified the source websites linked to these passwords so hackers knew where to focus their efforts.

So how can individuals create stronger passwords and protect their streaming accounts? NordPass’s chief technology officer Tomas Smalakys recommends setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) if available for your streaming service. Additionally, alternative authentication methods like scanning QR codes with phones might be possible on some platforms. If not, Smalakys suggests using long and random passwords since investing a few minutes in creating secure credentials is worth the effort.

Another option gaining popularity is passkeys—a more secure and user-friendly alternative to traditional passwords. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo now support passkeys. However, until more websites adopt this passwordless authentication method, it’s best to use a reliable password manager. The method used to manage passwords also plays a crucial role in security.

Smalakys advises against saving passwords in browsers and instead recommends using a dedicated password manager. Both browser-based and dedicated password managers store and encrypt passwords. However, the difference lies in how they protect the password vault. While both types create private keys stored on the client side and public keys stored on a server, password managers go a step further by encrypting the private key upon creating a master password. This additional layer of encryption makes it virtually impossible for hackers to access the vault contents even if they acquire the private key.

In conclusion, it is essential to prioritize strong passwords and utilize additional security measures like two-factor authentication when available for streaming services. Password managers are invaluable tools for securely storing and managing passwords. By following these practices, individuals can significantly enhance their online security and protect themselves from cyber threats.

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