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Worst Passwords of the Year – And How to Fix Them

If you’re one of those people who thought it was clever to use “password” as your password, it’s time to wisen up and make a change. Switching the “o” to a zero to make it “passw0rd”? Not much better. Both are on the list of the 25 most common passwords used on the Internet this year

Worst Passwords of the Year – And How to Fix Them

Other common passwords include simple numerical choices like “123456,” common names like “ashley” and “michael,” and patterns based on the layout of the keyboard like “qwerty” and “qazwsx.” There are also some minor mysteries, like the unusual popularity of “monkey” and “shadow.” With an increasing number of sites requiring more complex passwords, some letter and number combinations like “abc123″ and “trustno1″ are being used more often.

“25 Worst Passwords of the Year” list for 2011. The most common passwords on the web 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

Top 25 list was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers. These passwords should be changed immediately.

  • Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters. One way to create longer, more secure passwords that are easy to remember is to use short words with spaces or other characters separating them. For example, “eat cake at 8!” or “car_park_city?”
  • Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites that you do for online email, social networking, and financial services. Use different passwords for each new website or service you sign up for.
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How to protect your online passwords

How much are your stolen web passwords worth to online criminals? Bloomberg reported that criminals were selling the access codes to LinkedIn accounts for as little as one dollar. This is in contrast to online banking passwords which can go for anywhere from $15 to $850 each. While hacked social media accounts generally have no access to money, a leak is still serious because the personal information thieves gain about you can make it much easier for someone to steal your identity online.

How to protect your online passwords

Choose strong passwords to begin with. Choose a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols such as %@#. Common names and common nouns are among the weakest passwords.

 

Don’t make your password easy to guess. Don’t use the name of your kids, pet, or spouse. Phone numbers, addresses and birthdates are also poor choices.

 

Don’t pick passwords that are made up of patterns on the keyboard. Qwerty and 123456 are amongst the most common passwords used and the easiest to guess.

 

Don’t use the same password for every site. This can be challenging, because we all have so many online accounts to manage now. However, if your LinkedIn account password was hacked last week, and you’ve used the same one for your online banking, email and other sites, those accounts could now be at risk too.

The most common passwords (not to use)

 

A list of the 25 worst passwords taken from millions that were stolen and posted online by hackers. Predictably, the worst offender of the bunch was simply the word ‘password.’ Family members’ names, common words, keyboard patterns and sequences of numbers round out the weakest passwords.

The 25 weakest?

  • 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

 

Get creative. Think up phrases and word/number/symbol combinations that are not easy to guess, but that you can remember. A password that is so complicated that you can’t remember it yourself isn’t very useful either.

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