Password security is a hot-button topic in an increasingly cyber-reliant society. Even so, the most common password is laughably simple to crack. Adding insult to injury, the most common computer passwords are widely popular. Are you using one of them?
The Gawker Hack Trickle Down
When Gawker admitted to being hacked, there was plenty of egg on the face to go around. What may have been unknown to users is that – in spite of encryption technology – the most common passwords also happen to be the simplest ones are easy to crack.
Since plenty of online users are somewhat trusting, the fact that one password does double-duty on various sites is par for the course. Thus, password security mavens recommended changing common passwords used on other sites, such as Yahoo! and Facebook, if they were similar or identical to the Gawker log-in.
So … What are the Most Common Passwords?
BNet reveals that in excess of 188,000 computer passwords were stolen. The most common password – bar none – was “123456.” The second most common password was “password.” Other offerings that make password security experts cringe were “12345678,” “lifehack” and “qwerty.”
Why Password Security Matters
Site hacks and password dumps are not new. BNet reports that just at the beginning of the year, some 32 million passwords were stolen. Even back then, the list of common passwords was surprisingly similar, with the most common password being “123456.”
Granted, there is a world of difference between securing access to a commenting site or to an investment bank. Even so, considering that computer users oftentimes use the same or similar passwords, it is worrisome that apparently precious little has changed in the way users choose their secure log-ins.
How to Be Your Own Best Password Manager (in a time when even “geeks” are too predictable)
Change passwords frequently and do not use one password for multiple sites. Combine letters and numbers but do not use simple log-ins, such as the ever popular “abc123,” which made the number 10 spot on the list of common passwords published by the New York Times.
Rather than relying on websites’ encryption procedures, it is imperative for computer users to allocate a different password for each website they use and perhaps even go for some gobbledygook.
Trying to be “geeky” is not always a surefire win, either. Consider the What’s My Pass 2008 list of common passwords used by “geeks” that are nevertheless beyond predictable and yet entered daily by thousands of computer users: “ncc1701,” “thx1138,” “ou812” and “8675309.”
And yes, “rosebud” is also on the list of password security no-nos.
Gawker: “Commenting Accounts Compromised”
BNet: “The Gawker Leak”
New York Times: “Simple Passwords Remain popular, Despite Risk of Hacking”
What’s My Pass: “The Top 500 Worst Passwords of All Time”