LOS GATOS, California — "Mustang" is the 16th most commonly used Internet password, according to a new study by SplashData, a company that specializes in password management and security.
With the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang — one of Edmunds 17 Best New Cars of 2015 — a hot item at dealerships nationwide, it's obvious that owners love their pony cars and want to keep them in mind as they surf the Web.
"Mustang," the only car-related password on the SplashData 25 most common passwords list for 2014, came in 16th place, beating out such pop-culture icons as "Superman," "Batman" and "Shadow." But it did fall behind such perennial favorites as the top-ranking "123456" and 2nd-place "password."
However, SplashData does note that these aren't just commonly used passwords, they're also not very good ones.
Favorite cars, superheroes, or sports teams are too easy for hackers to get around. The same goes for simple numerical or letter patterns, names, swear words, movie titles and personal information like birthdates.
"We're flattered people want to use 'mustang' as their password, but alone, it just isn't strong enough to be secure," said Keith Moss, Ford's director of cyber security, in a statement. "We encourage people to use 'mustang,' but we recommend they strengthen their password by mixing upper and lower case letters, numbers, acronyms and symbols to make it unique."
Other suggestions from Ford: adding your Mustang's paint code, engine code or part of the VIN; creating an acronym for modifications made to your Mustang, such as "FRSC" for Ford Racing Supercharger; and adding your favorite driving road or destination.
Ford also notes that using the same password on all Web sites is not a good idea and recommends using a password manager to help keep various Mustang-related passwords organized and easy to find. Password managers are software that help users store, organize and recall passwords while still keeping them safe.
For the 2014 study, SplashData collaborated with Mark Burnett, online security expert and author of the book Perfect Passwords.
"The bad news from my research is that this year's most commonly used passwords are pretty consistent with prior years," Burnett said in a statement. "The good news is that it appears that more people are moving away from using these passwords. In 2014, the top 25 passwords represented about 2.2 percent of passwords exposed. While still frightening, that's the lowest percentage of people using the most common passwords I have seen in recent studies."
Edmunds says: Consumers who want to use "Edmunds" as a password should remember to add numbers and symbols to help keep it secure.