What’s the worst password of 2011? “password”

password

This last year has brought an increased emphasis on online security—what with the PlayStation Network breach, seemingly endless stories of services, companies, and governments losing personal data or seeing their systems compromised (Valve, Sony, and RSA all spring to mind), one might think consumers would be more careful with passwords on their email and social networking accounts, mobile devices, and even online banking. According to a report published by SpashData—makers of password management software, that’s not really true. SpashData looked at files containing “millions” of stolen passwords that were posted online by cyberattackers in the last year, and has compiled a list of the 25 most common passwords it found. At the top of the list: “password.”

“Hackers can easily break into many accounts just by repeatedly trying common passwords,” said SplashData CEO Morgan Slain, in a statement. “Even though people are encouraged to select secure, strong passwords, many people continue to choose weak, easy-to-guess ones, placing themselves at risk from fraud and identity theft.”

SpashData’s sample is admittedly biased: its list comprises the 25 most common passwords it found in lists of accounts that had been cracked—meaning accounts with more-secure passwords aren’t even in the sample set. There’s also no indication whether these accounts represent real people or simply accounts created by automation or for testing purposes: there’s no way of knowing whether guessing the password to any one of those accounts would actually have a harmful result. Nonetheless, the results seem to indicate a rather shocking naiveté from everyday Internet users.

According to SplashData, the 25 most common passwords cracked by cyberattackers are:

  • password
  • 123456
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • abc123
  • monkey
  • 1234567
  • letmein
  • trustno1
  • dragon
  • baseball
  • 111111
  • iloveyou
  • master
  • sunshine
  • ashley
  • bailey
  • passw0rd
  • shadow
  • 123123
  • 654321
  • superman
  • qazwsx
  • michael
  • football

One interesting entry is “passw0rd”—many people think they’re secure from dictionary attacks if they simply change out a letter for a numeral.

Security experts generally recommend a password be at least eight characters long, contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and allowable punctuation. However, from a usability standpoint, those sorts of “secure” passwords are difficult for users to remember and use—meaning they often wind up on sticky notes next to a monitor or in a file or note labelled “password,” further compromising users’ security.

“If you have a password that is short or common or a word in the dictionary, it’s like leaving your door open for identity thieves,” Slain said.

Another approach is to create rather long passwords from strings of seemingly, unrelated, ordinary words: those passwords are generally easier to type and remember, although they often aren’t accepted by systems that enforce rules about password length or requiring special characters.

xckd-password-strength

[Comic via the excellent xkcd: http://xkcd.com/936/]

[Image via Shutterstock]

Computing

Amazon’s one-day sale takes up to 69 percent off wireless accessories

Looking for a mechanical keyboard or a better mouse to take your gaming experience to the next level? You can now save up to 69 percent on these accessories through Amazon's sale. These prices are only good for today, so act fast!
Computing

Apple’s updated MacBook Pro may be twice as fast, but can it handle the gains?

Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup, delivering up two twice the performance improvements. The 15-inch model tops out with an eight-core ninth-generation Intel processor and discrete AMD graphics alongside a slightly tweaked keyboard.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 laptops get steep price cuts before Memorial Day weekend

Dell is having an early access version of its Memorial Day sale, featuring deep discounts on its XPS 13 laptops. Customers can snag three different versions of the XPS 13 with discounts of up to $460.
Deals

HP Memorial Day sale: Spectre x360 Laptops, Omen gaming PCs, and printers

Memorial Day is a time for relaxation and remembrance, but it's also a huge season for yearly sales. The HP Memorial Day sale has deep discounts on laptops, desktop, printers, and more, and we’ve rounded up the best deals right here.
Computing

Samsung MicroSD memory cards get massive discounts in Amazon Memorial Day deal

Samsung's Evo Select series of MicroSD memory cards, now half off on Amazon, are some of the best in the business. Expand the storage space on your smartphone, tablet, camera, and other devices today.
Computing

The top mesh routers for a bigger, better, and faster Wi-Fi network

The best mesh routers and Wi-Fi extenders give a wireless network both range and speed. Better yet, they scale fantastically well, so you can always expand your network if you need it to be larger tomorrow than it is today.
Deals

Best Memorial Day sales 2019: The top deals from Walmart, Dell, and Home Depot

If you're looking to save big on some shiny new stuff for Memorial Day 2019, we've gathered everything you need to know into one place. Find out where to save the most money before the summer hits its stride.
Computing

The top curved monitors for gaming, work, entertainment, and more

A curved monitor can provide an immersive experience at work or play - especially with ultrawide monitors. Here's a selection of the best curved monitors available and what they excel at.
Mobile

Keep your gadgets fully powered with the best Micro USB cables

A lot of older gadgets and Android smartphones still rely on Micro USB cables to charge or transfer data. Check out our picks of the best Micro USB cables, whether you want something reliable, tough, feature-packed, or simple.
Computing

Apple sends out invites for WWDC 2019, and unicorns are involved

Apple developers and fans alike look forward every year to the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC. Apple has confirmed the conference will take place on June 3-7, and the company just sent out invites.
Computing

AMD's latest Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

The May 2019 update for Windows 10 is live. Here’s how to get your hands on it

Launched this week, Microsoft's May 2019 update for Windows 10 releases a slew of new features, primarily simple and powerful security tools, for home and enterprise users. You can get your hands on these tools by installing the new update…
Computing

AMD or Intel? We take a look at the pros and cons of both processors

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Computing

The 2019 MacBook Pro is an impressive performance update, but not much else

With increased competition from Windows laptops, Apple could do with refreshing its MacBook Pro line. Fortunately, it looks set to do that in 2019. Here's everything we know so far.