Real estate jargon still hasn’t penetrated the industry’s computer passwords. Recent analysis of more than 162,000 publicly reported data breaches within major firms finds that “password”, “123456” and some variation of a company’s name are ensconced favourites — easing the way for hackers to infiltrate networks and obtain information.
Still, just 1 per cent of more than 15.6 million reviewed data breaches at Fortune 500 companies occurred in real estate companies. Financial and tech/IT firms have been hardest hit — together accounting for 40 per cent of reported cases — based on the analysis from the data security service provider, NordPass, which categorizes the incidents into 17 economic sectors. Only human resources, agriculture and media/advertising have reported fewer incidents than real estate.
Security experts consistently urge all computer users to choose complicated passwords and revise them regularly. They warn that sloppy personal practices can be compounded in multi-user workplace networks, especially if an overly simple password is commonly shared.
The NordPass analysis also gauges the percentage of unique passwords employed within each of 17 sectors. In this, real estate’s originality — at 29 per cent — is lumped into a tight pack. Human resources registered the highest level of unique passwords, at 31 per cent, while telecommunications companies bottomed out the list at 20 per cent.
“Password” ranked as either the top or second most common password across every sector. Only the financial sector defaulted to industry terms, with “Profit” emerging as the 8th most common password. Symptomatic of its gender profile, “penispenis” was the corresponding 8th ranked password for the automotive industry’s Fortune 500 players, while construction and manufacturing firms were overwhelmingly reliant on some variation of their company names.
“Businesses and their employees have a duty to protect their customers’ data,” reiterates Chad Hammond, a NordPass security advisor. “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.”