Browse Definitions :

default password

What is a default password?

A default password is a standard preconfigured password for a device or software. Such passwords are the default configuration for many devices and, if unchanged, present a serious security risk.

Default passwords are intended to be placeholders and used only for the initial setup of hardware or after a factory reset. The user enters the password and is usually prompted to change it as part of the process, but not always.

Examples of default passwords include admin, password and guest. When vendors use these single default passwords, they can be easily found online through search or on websites that provide compiled lists. This makes them a large security risk if left unchanged.

What are default passwords used for?

Default passwords are commonly used for routers, access points, switches and firewalls. They're also common in embedded systems, industrial control systems (ICS) and remote terminal interfaces.

password hygiene shortcomings
Users often neglect password best practices in numerous ways, according to Ponemon Institute research.

Why are default passwords a security risk?

Left unchanged, default passwords provide an easy attack vector for network equipment; if the owner also connects to a corporate network, that risk extends to the business as well. An attacker who logs into a device successfully is likely to have administrative-level access. This gives them complete control over the device and any connected networks.

The risk is also severe with embedded systems and ICS security because these environments weren't originally intended to be accessible over the internet. However, given today's IoT environments, almost anything can be made available via an internet connection, and while there are many benefits to IoT connectivity, enhanced security isn't among them.

How can default passwords be mitigated?

Default passwords are a well-known security risk that can easily be mitigated by changing them to strong, unique ones.

This should be done for every device on a network, including routers, switches and access points. For more sensitive devices, such as those used in ICS security or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), it's also important to change the default username.

What are the characteristics of a strong password?

The following are some characteristics of a strong password:

  • at least 8 characters long;
  • a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols;
  • not a dictionary word or a word that's easily guessed;
  • changed regularly; and
  • not reused on other accounts.
password vs. passphrase
Converting a common passphrase such as I have 2 Labrador retrievers! Fido and Spot into Ih2Lr!F+S is not only easy to remember, but more secure and harder to hack.

How should passwords be stored?

Passwords should be stored in a password manager. This is a piece of software that stores passwords securely, encrypting them so that they can only be accessed with a master password. A password manager can generate strong passwords and help manage different ones for various accounts.

When choosing a password manager, look for one that offers two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA).

As mentioned above, this adds an extra layer of security by requiring the user to confirm their identity with a second factor, such as a fingerprint, PIN or one-time code sent to their phone.

Learn how to prevent password attacks and other unauthorized threats, discover the top cybersecurity best practices to protect your business and explore five important password hygiene tips and best practices.

This was last updated in October 2022

Continue Reading About default password

  • firewall as a service (FWaaS)

    Firewall as a service (FWaaS), also known as a cloud firewall, is a service that provides cloud-based network traffic analysis ...

  • private 5G

    Private 5G is a wireless network technology that delivers 5G cellular connectivity for private network use cases.

  • NFVi (network functions virtualization infrastructure)

    NFVi (network functions virtualization infrastructure) encompasses all of the networking hardware and software needed to support ...

  • cybersecurity

    Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data from cyberthreats.

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a symmetric block cipher chosen by the U.S. government to protect classified ...

  • operational risk

    Operational risk is the risk of losses caused by flawed or failed processes, policies, systems or events that disrupt business ...

  • Risk Management Framework (RMF)

    The Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a template and guideline used by companies to identify, eliminate and minimize risks.

  • robotic process automation (RPA)

    Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that mimics the way humans interact with software to perform high-volume, ...

  • spatial computing

    Spatial computing broadly characterizes the processes and tools used to capture, process and interact with three-dimensional (3D)...

  • OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)

    OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) encourage companies to set, communicate and monitor organizational goals and results in an ...

  • cognitive diversity

    Cognitive diversity is the inclusion of people who have different styles of problem-solving and can offer unique perspectives ...

  • reference checking software

    Reference checking software is programming that automates the process of contacting and questioning the references of job ...

Customer Experience
  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

  • customer profiling

    Customer profiling is the detailed and systematic process of constructing a clear portrait of a company's ideal customer by ...