Security Advisor

Bad Passwords Won't Die

Why even use a password if you're just going to use easily guessable entries?

SplashData is once again back for the next installment of its annual horror franchise, featuring the 25 worst passwords of the year.

And, just as predictable as this year's installment of the Paranormal Activity series arriving just in time for Halloween, the top three spots continue to be "password," "123456" and "12345678."

In revealing just how bad the majority off passwords are, SplashData wants to snap the public out of apathy (and wants to advertise its own line of password management tools) to make changes that actually make password protection worth the effort.

"At this time of year, people enjoy focusing on scary costumes, movies and decorations, but those who have been through it can tell you how terrifying it is to have your identity stolen because of a hacked password," said Morgan Slain, SplashData CEO. "We're hoping that with more publicity about how risky it is to use weak passwords, more people will start taking simple steps to protect themselves by using stronger passwords and using different passwords for different Web sites."

To see if you are one of the offending password users, here's the complete list: password, 123456, 12345678, abc123, qwerty, monkey, letmein, dragon, 111111, baseball, iloveyou, trustno1, 1234567, sunshine, master, 123123, welcome, shadow, ashley, football, jesus, michael, ninja, mustang and password1.

SplashData prescribes the usual password-strengthening advice: use easy-to-remember phrases, separating words with symbols, use more than 8 characters and make sure that you aren't using the same password for multiple Web sites.

With the inclusion of new password features in Windows 8, I wonder if the act of drawing a smiley face on a picture of your child will make next year's cut.

Are you a password offender? Do you use follow the same secure password best practices that you expect from others on your network? Let me know at cpaoli@1105media.com.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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