Skip to main content

These hacked Ashley Madison passwords are NSFW … or anywhere else, really

Ashley Madison
Image used with permission by copyright holder
You’d think that people signing up to cheat on their spouses would want to be a bit more creative with their password choice, but you’d be wrong. Now that some 11 million of Ashley Madison’s supposedly un-hackable passwords have — shocker! — been cracked, the researchers behind this great feat have released the top 100 most common strings used to protect these users’ infidelity. The most popular? 123456, with 120,511 uses. Come on, guys. It’s like you want to get caught, or something.

Despite earlier claims insisting that it would take centuries to discover passwords to the 36 million compromised accounts, in all actuality, it was more just a matter of weeks before a group of password hackers, who call themselves CynoSure Prime, managed to unearth rather extensive programming errors that left more than 15 million passwords rather vulnerable. And already, the vast majority of the weakest members of the password herd have been taken down. With the rest of the top 10 including 12345, password, DEFAULT, 123456789, qwerty, 12345678, abc123, pussy, and 1234567, it really doesn’t seem like rocket science.

In a grand display of what is either hubris or just plain stupidity, the most common passwords used in Ashley Madison accounts are also the most common passwords used period. Of course, No. 9 is a notable exception, but that may speak more to the immaturity of the user base (slim pickings when it comes to cheaters, eh?).

For now, CynoSure Prime has decided not to release the passwords in full, though you’re more than welcome to study up on their methods here. Given the apparent relative ease and speed with which the group managed to get through the first 11 million, it seems only a matter of time (and not that much of it, at that), before they’re privy to the log in information of the rest of the 15 million weaker accounts, and perhaps the remainder of the compromised user base as well.

To see the full list of the top 100 thus far, you can check out Ars Technica’s full roundup — by the way, just over a third (4.6 million) of the cracked passwords were unique, so it seems that the cheaters had more in common than just bad intentions for their marriage.

So let this be a warning: If you’re logging into some illicit site, do better than 123456.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
When is Prime Day 2023? Dates confirmed for the shopping event
Best Prime Day 2022 Deals graphic with multiple products.

After weeks of speculation, we finally know when Prime Day 2023 is kicking off. Amazon has announced that the event will start July 11 at 3AM ET and will run through July 12. As always, Prime members can score some fantastic deals from the sale with popular brands like Peloton, Victoria's Secret, YETI, and Sony just some of the names being touted by Amazon as featuring in the big sale. Members will also be able to shop more deals on small business products than ever before too. As always, expect great discounts on Amazon-owned properties like Kindles, Ring doorbells, Amazon Echo units, and so much more. It's the sale we've all been waiting for since Black Friday.

The Prime Day deals promise to drop every 30 minutes during select periods with deep discounts expected. Select discounts on other Amazon-related things are already available such as 20% off in-store purchases at

Read more
Another big sale is happening at the same time as Prime Day
A variety of electronic devices in open boxes.

Target just revealed that Target Circle Week will run from July 9 to July 15, overlapping with Amazon's Prime Day that's scheduled for July 11 to July 12.

The big sale event will be open to members of the retailer's Target Circle loyalty program, who will be able to receive discounts of up to 50% for certain items. If you're not yet a member, don't worry -- you can join at any time, and membership is free. Once you've signed up, you'll be able to earn 1% from every purchase to redeem at a later time, access exclusive deals, and get 5% off for your birthday, among other benefits.

Read more
The best free parental control software for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android
Man using computer.

Everything in this world has gone digital, and that includes homework (if you have kids). If your children are young, you’re probably not giving them laptops or free rein of the family computer yet. You’re also probably not always able to monitor their screen activity, either.

That’s where parental control software comes in handy. Such software helps keep your kids safe from the dark web, and there are usually free options available for all operating systems. Keep reading to find out more.
Built-in OS features
Giving your kids technology designed for their age group is an excellent first step toward keeping them safe online. When they have access to more general computing devices, you can leverage parental control features built right into the operating system. The parental controls for both Windows and macOS provide a convenient and acceptable means for restricting web access and chat functionality, and give parents the ability to view detailed logs and monitor email exchanges.
Microsoft Family Safety

Read more