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Data Security

'123456' Surpasses 'Password' as Most Common Password


January 20, 2014 1:43PM

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SplashData said one way to create more secure passwords that are easy to recall is to use passphrases -- short words with spaces or other characters separating them. It's best to use random words rather than common phrases. For example, "cakes years birthday" or "smiles_light_skip?" are much more secure than passwords like "qwerty" or "abc123."

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.

In an age of data breaches and identity theft, you would think consumers would take password security a little more seriously. But passwords like "123456" and "iloveyou" are still among the list of most common passwords found on the Internet.

SplashData just announced its annual list of the 25 most common online passwords. For the first time since SplashData began compiling its annual list, "password" has lost its title as the most common and therefore worst password. The two-time runner-up "123456" took the dubious honor while "password" fell to second place.

"Seeing passwords like 'adobe123' and 'photoshop' on this list offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the Web site or application you are accessing," said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData.

'abc123'

According to SplashData, this year's list was influenced by the large number of passwords from Adobe users posted online by security consulting firm Stricture Consulting Group following Adobe's well-publicized security breach.

SplashData's list of frequently used passwords reveals that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords. Some other passwords in the Top Ten include "qwerty," "abc123," "111111," and "iloveyou."

"Another interesting aspect of this year's list is that more short numerical passwords showed up even though Web sites are starting to enforce stronger password policies," Slain said. For example, new to this year's list are simple and easily guessable passwords like "1234" at No. 16 on the list, "12345" at No. 20, and "000000" at No. 25.

SplashData's top 25 list was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online during the previous year. The company advises consumers or businesses using any of the passwords on the list to change them immediately. Others on the list include admin, letmein, monkey, shadow, abc123, princess, password1, sunshine and 1234567890.

"As always, we hope 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," Slain said.

Creating Solid Passwords

SplashData suggests using passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters. But even passwords with common substitutions like "dr4mat1c" can be vulnerable to attackers' increasingly sophisticated technology, and random combinations like "j%7K&yPx$" can be difficult to remember.

The company said one way to create more secure passwords that are easy to recall is to use passphrases -- short words with spaces or other characters separating them. It's best to use random words rather than common phrases. For example, "cakes years birthday" or "smiles_light_skip?"

Avoid using the same username-password combination for multiple Web sites, the firm suggests, and especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites that you do for online email, social networking, or financial service sites. Finally, use different passwords each time you sign up for a new Web site or service.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

David Carper:

Posted: 2014-02-02 @ 8:32am PT
When at someone else desk or in a group of people I have always used one password. It is 1qaz@WSX, but as soon as I was at my desk or alone I would always change it so my partners did not know it. But I also never knew that people did the word PASSWORD as a password.

Maureen Robinson:

Posted: 2014-01-23 @ 3:24am PT
Great article and great tips, Jennifer! I don’t think users are aware of the threats they’re facing. Most people tend to use the same password on multiple channels. It’s very important to know that the strength of a password stand in length, complexity, and unpredictability. Using strong passwords lowers overall risk of a security breach. Creating a threat model can help model a security design so that you can expose potential security design flaws and vulnerabilities before you invest significant time or resources in a flawed design and/or problems become difficult to reverse - http://bit.ly/1hILyER.

K Quina:

Posted: 2014-01-22 @ 3:36pm PT
Have a simple way to have a great password you can remember. Write down a favorite saying, then write the 1st letter of each word in UPPER, lower, UPPER ,etc. throw in one number and one symbol ea (_). Don't tell anyone! sample sayings = "No one Can make You feel Inferior 2_ without Your consent" .. "Lies are Like roaches, 3! If you See one There are More"



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