The technology and IT sector’s employees, working for the world’s richest companies, use very poor passwords to secure business accounts, reveals a  new research by NordPass. While cybersecurity experts repeatedly urge businesses to take better care of corporate accounts, passwords such as “123456” and “password” still make it to the top of the technology and IT industry’s list. The ten  most used passwords in the technology and IT sector are : 123456, password, aaron431, research,  12345678,  111111,  linkedin,  123456789, 12345 and . abc123.

Although NordPass looks at the change in internet users’ password habits year-round, this year, the company specifically investigated passwords that employees of the world’s biggest companies from  thirty one  countries use to secure business accounts. The researchers compiled twenty  industry-specific passwords lists.

“On one hand, it is a paradox that the wealthiest companies on the planet with financial resources to invest in cybersecurity fall into the poor password trap. On the other hand, it is only natural because internet users have deep-rooted unhealthy password habits. This research once again proves that we should all speed up in transitioning to alternative online authentication solutions,” says Jonas Karklys, chief executive officer,NordPass.

 Questionable passwords

According to the study, the passwords “password” and “123456,” which shared the top two spots in last year’s list of the world’s most common passwords, are also popular among the largest companies’ employees. Across all twenty  analyzed industries, both of them  were found to be among the seven most commonly used. The word “password” was the number two  most trending pick among the technology and IT sector’s employees and “123456” ranked first.

Interestingly, people working for corporations in the technology and IT field seem to be focused on their careers, with the passwords “research” and “career121” among their top twenty  password picks. Other industries were also creative. The password “dummies” ranks sixth  among consumer goods sector employees, “sexy4sho” – sixteenth among real estate employees, and “snowman” –  eleventh in the energy field.

Common inspiration for passwords

Just like with regular internet users, dictionary words, names of people and countries, and simple combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols make up most passwords presented in the research.

However, the remaining thirty two per cent  indicate another interesting trend. The world’s wealthiest companies’ employees love passwords that directly reference or hint at the name of a specific company. The full company name, its  email domain, part of its  name, its  abbreviation  and its  product or subsidiary name are common sources of inspiration.

“These types of passwords are both poor and dangerous to use. When breaking into company accounts, hackers try all the password combinations referencing a company because they are aware of how common they are. Employees often avoid creating complicated passwords, especially for shared accounts. Therefore, they end up choosing something as basic as the company’s name,” says Karklys.

Wide representation of countries and industries

The analysis of the world’s wealthiest companies’ passwords was conducted in partnership with independent third-party researchers specializing in research on cybersecurity incidents. They looked into the world’s five hundred  largest companies by their market capitalization, which represented thirty one  countries and twenty  industries.

The United States (46.2%), China (9.6%), Japan (5.8%), India (4.2%), the United Kingdom (4%), France (3.8%), and Canada (3.6%) are the countries most represented in this research. Also, most of the companies analyzed fell under the technology and IT, finance  and health care sectors.

Passwords will inevitably die

The study complements a series of password-related research projects NordPass has delivered throughout the years. In 2021, the company looked into the passwords that Fortune 500 companies use, and in 2022, investigated the password habits of top-level business executives. Moreover, NordPass annually presents the “Top 200 most common passwords” study, which broadly covers the password trends of internet users.

“While password trends slightly vary each year across different audiences, the general take is that people continuously fail with their password management, and the world desperately needs to switch to new online authentication solutions such as passkeys,” says Karklys.

Various progressive businesses such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, PayPal, KAYAK, and eBay have already adopted passkey technology and are offering their users passwordless login. According to Karklys, in no time at all, other online companies will start following this trend. Therefore, NordPass has developed a solution to store clients’ passkeys and is developing a tool for businesses to easily integrate passkey support to their websites.

Tips to secure business accounts

According to an IBM report, in 2022, stolen or compromised credentials remained the most common cause of a data breach in companies, accounting for 19%. Karklys says that by implementing a few cybersecurity measures, businesses could avoid many cybersecurity incidents. To start with, it should  be ensured  that the  company’s  passwords are strong. They should consist of random combinations of at least  twenty  upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Secondly , the  multi-factor authentication or single sign-on should be enabled. While the MFA set up on another device, connected with email or SMS codes guarantees an additional layer of security, single sign-on functionality helps reduce the number of passwords people have to manage.

Thirdly, critically evaluate whom to grant account credentials. Access privileges should be removed from people leaving the company and passed on only to those who are in need of certain access.  Finally, deploy a password manager. With a business solution, companies can safely store all their passwords in one place, share them within the organization, ensure their strength, and effectively manage access privileges.



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