July 23, 2012

10 Passwords Everyone Uses (And You Shouldn’t)


Good method of creating passwords (credit: XKCD Comics) Click if difficult to read (it’s pretty funny, worth the effort)

There’s one good outcome from the Yahoo breach (a hacker defeated Yahoo’s firewalls, stole 450,000 accounts, and proceeded to post the user names and passwords onlines). You know all that dire advice about using numbers and letters and symbols in passwords? Turns out the Yahoo users didn’t. A peek at their twenty favorite passwords makes it clear once more that the biggest impediment to computer security remains human users:

  1. 123456′ used by 1666 (0.38%)
  2. ‘password’ used by 780 (0.18%)
  3. welcome’ used by 436 (0.1%)
  4. ‘ninja’ used by 333 (0.08%)
  5. ‘abc123’ used by 250 (0.06%)
  6. ‘123456789’ used by 222 (0.05%)
  7. ‘12345678’ used by 208 (0.05%)
  8. ‘sunshine’ used by 205 (0.05%)
  9. ‘princess’ used by 202 (0.05%)
  10. ‘qwerty’ used by 172 (0.04%)

If you’re thinking this looks familiar, you’re right. Here are the top 25 from 2011:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. monkey
  7. 1234567
  8. letmein
  9. trustno1
  10. dragon
  11. baseball
  12. 111111
  13. iloveyou
  14. master
  15. sunshine
  16. ashley
  17. bailey
  18. passw0rd
  19. shadow
  20. 123123
  21. 654321
  22. superman
  23. qazwsx
  24. michael
  25. Football

Let’s review Password 101:

  • include different types of letters, numbers and special characters
  • longer is better
  • use different passwords for different accounts

I’m happy to share that my passwords aren’t on either of these lists. How about yours?

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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