HR leads the way in poor password hygiene

Updated: Jan 8

HR pros tend to use astonishingly weak passwords, according to new research released by NordPass, which cautions that weak passwords leave hackers drooling.

Don’t believe it? Here are the top 10 passwords in HR:

  1. password

  2. Kenzie14

  3. Company name123*

  4. Company name1234*

  5. welcome1

  6. 123456

  7. Company name*

  8. linkedin

  9. scooter

  10. Password

* This password is the company’s actual name.

The researchers analyzed data from public third-party breaches that affected Fortune 500 companies. It included 15.6 million breaches and was categorized into 17 different industries.

The researchers looked into the top 10 passwords used in each industry, the percentage of unique passwords, and the number of data breaches affecting each industry.

While it’s well established that simple passwords are hazardous to businesses, that doesn’t always equate into smarter password usage.

For example, in February, a water treatment facility in Florida suffered a serious computer breach. It turned out the company used an unsupported version of Windows with no firewall and shared the same password, TeamViewer, among its employees.

And last December, SolarWinds suffered from a big data breach reportedly due to protecting one of their servers with the password “solarwinds123”.

UGH! 1-2-3-4-5

“Businesses and their employees have a duty to protect their customers’ data. A weak password of one employee could potentially jeopardize the whole company if an attacker used the breached password to gain access to sensitive data,” says Chad Hammond, security expert at NordPass.

How can businesses increase their password hygiene?

Hammond recommends:

1. Create complex and unique passwords, update them regularly, and store them in a password manager. A password management solution provides a secure way to store, share, and manage passwords in a single place.

2. Use multi-factor authentication or single sign-on. Companies should use multi-factor authentication where available for an added layer of security. Another great idea is to leverage single sign-on and password synchronization. With single sign-on, employees are less likely to revert to bad password practices, such as creating common passwords or writing them down.

3. Educate your employees on password hygiene and potential risks

It’s important to note that employees should avoid mixing their work and personal accounts. This ensures that your personal identity is not only protected, but also any information related to your employer is safeguarded in the event of a breach.

Consumer-facing breaches can extend beyond personal accounts, potentially exposing the enterprise as well. Data breaches like this can create a domino effect across multiple organizations through the reuse of credentials across personal and business accounts.

NOTE: NordPass is a password manager that allows users to access passwords securely on desktop, mobile, and browsers. All passwords are encrypted on the device, so only the user can access them. For more information:

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