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Password security: 123456789 instead of 123456

Many people in Germany choose passwords that are too insecure. They should be long and contain special characters – but most people do not adhere to this recommendation, as the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) announced. The most popular password in 2023 was “123456789”. It had three more digits than in the previous year.

In general, passwords have not become more creative in recent years, says the HPI and sees a particular problem: There are more and more online services – and users are being tricked into choosing simple and always the same passwords.

The top five passwords are all occupied by weak series of numbers except for one place. The exception is third place with the password “hello”. “password”, “password1” and “target123” follow in places six to eight in the ranking. Ninth and tenth place are occupied by the passwords “iloveyou” and “gwerty123”.

This makes it quite easy for cybercriminals to obtain important personal information. In addition: Cybercriminals apparently use even the simplest passwords for bot farms or disinformation campaigns. According to HPI, this explains why passwords like “target123” and “gwerty123” were used noticeably often.

The Hasso Plattner Institute publishes the most used passwords among Germans every year. The data is based on millions of access data from the HPI Identity Leak Checker database.

Better than 15 characters – use a password manager

To protect yourself from cybercrime, the HPI recommends using long passwords with more than 15 characters. In addition, users should use different passwords for different services. The use of password managers can also increase security.

According to a survey by the digital association Bitkom last week, people in Germany were less careful when choosing passwords last year than in the previous year. According to their own information, 74 percent of users pay attention to complex passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. A year ago it was 83 percent.

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