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2018 Resolution: Avoid Bad Passwords – and Bad Data

 

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution you can really keep, put making your passwords more secure on your to-do list. 

 

To help you see what NOT to do, SplashData, a provider of personal password security apps, publishes an annual list of the year’s 25 worst passwords, based on how many successful hacks have been detected during the previous year. The SplashData lists have real resonance for market research, where data security is crucial. Online panels are vulnerable to scammers who collect rewards by supplying bogus or duplicated survey responses. Bots that take online surveys and disguise themselves by cleverly mimicking human consumers are leading causes of data-distortion.

 

When it comes to the most vulnerable passwords, as reported by Gizmodo, “123456” topped the list in 2017 — the fifth straight year it earned that dubious distinction. In fact, consecutive number series starting with “1” accounted for five of the eight most-stolen passwords. “Password” ranked #2 on SplashData’s list for the fifth straight year, and at #19 was its uncapitalized cousin, “password.” 

 

Certain oft-purloined passwords reflect what’s on the collective mind. In 2017 they included “football” (#9), “starwars” (#16), and “dragon,” presumably inspired by “Game of Thrones,” at #18. Another popular password was “monkey” (#13), which reclaimed a place in the Top 25 after falling off the list in 2016. Using your pets’ names would probably be a better idea.

 

Some members of the worst-passwords list for 2016 failed to repeat in 2017: “hottie,” “master,” “sunshine” “princess,” and “loveme.” In their place rose “freedom,” “iloveyou” and, in a delicious irony, “trustno1,” which made its debut on the untrustworthy passwords list at #25.

 

Insights professionals have to trust someone to deliver the fraud-free data they need to help businesses make properly-informed decisions. Instead of accepting online survey fraud as an unavoidable pollutant in their data stream, researchers who think it’s important to defend against tainted completes have an alternative in mobile-app survey technology. Smartphones’ unique IDs eliminate duplication and  thwart bots. Other phone features provide ironclad validation: location functions confirm respondents’ whereabouts, and a phone’s camera lets you request photos of receipts or videos that respondents submit to confirm their whereabouts and their identity as actual human beings. On the back end, be sure to ask your panel providers whether they have in-house experts eyeball each complete as a standard feature of the data-cleaning process.

 

For a productive conversation about mobile data security, and of all the ways in which mobile-app research can meet your specific project needs, just get in touch by clicking here.