The golden age of passwords is coming to a close.
The change started when websites started rating passwords as we were creating them, trying to get us to add some capital letters and symbols to boost their status from weak to strong.
Some more-ambitious websites started requiring users to include a number, a capital and lowercase letter, and/or a symbol. Now Microsoft has banned certain basic passwords altogether, according to one of its team’s blogs.
The passwords that are being dynamically banned across Microsoft services (including Outlook, Skype, Xbox and more) are pulled from the annual “Worst Password List” by SplashData. These passwords include “123456” and “password” at the top of the list, along with the ever-popular “qwerty” and new entrant “starwars.”
According to the blog, Microsoft’s active directory service Azure AD will be banning the same passwords soon.
This is what your Microsoft account login will look like if you try to use an overused password.
The blog says this is part of an effort to crack down on stolen passwords, and banning common passwords will make it harder for hackers to get into accounts just by guessing. It also cited the recent news of 117 million LinkedIn users having their usernames and passwords stolen, which caused the site to reset many users’ passwords.
Avoiding these popular passwords won’t automatically give you a strong password though. To make it difficult for people to get into your account, use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. You can also use two-factor authentication when possible for an extra layer of security.
Microsoft isn’t the only company looking to change up the password landscape. Google recently devised a plan to get rid of passwords in favor of face-recognition, location or fingerprint scanning. Facebook is also looking to throw passwords into the garbage, using email or phone number logins instead.
If other companies like what these companies doing, this could be the end of using “password” as your password.