123 456 is your password? We're on to you

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2012 - 11:43 AM

Photo: Steve Wilson, Krt

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If you are one of the computer users with 123456 as a password, you have company, and lots of it. According to the list of the 25 worst passwords by SplashData.com, it's the second most commonly used password, surpassed only by (seriously?) "password."

Still, it's easy to see why some people take the slacker's path. Most of us feel overwhelmed managing an average of 25 passwords, according to a Microsoft study.

SplashData, a password management company in California, compiled the list from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers.

The list is a good reminder that many users naively think abc123 (fifth on the list), letmein (eighth), iloveyou (13th) or football (25th) are unique.

Also popular are letter combinations that look obscure except on the keyboard -- qwerty (fourth) and qazwsx (23rd).

Hackers can easily guess passwords that seem obscure except to the hundreds of thousands of people who use them -- monkey (sixth), dragon (10th), master (14th), sunshine (15th), shadow (19th) and superman (22nd).

The security firm Duo Security proved last year that it could crack 200,000 user passwords in under an hour. Easy ones like 12345678 take seconds to crack, but the firm said that an eight-character password with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, spaces and symbols can send hackers packing in search of easier targets.

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