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Think your password is secure?

Found this post on Modern Life is Rubbish - thought it worth repeating and commending! I was under the misguided impression that the most common passwords were: Sex, God and Password. Been watching too much Hackers in my youth, obviously.

Read the rest of the blog for the intro and conclusions. I've included the summary findings below. Food for thought eh?

Obviously this is UK data - but I suspect South Africa is worse in terms of password security. See our previous article on Cracking Wireless Networks for a glimpse on just what can be accomplished with a cracked password or two! And remember, this is the digital age. Your calendar, your spreadsheets, your mail - it's all going online! Read on...

10. 'thomas' (0.99‰) - First off, at number 10, is the most common format of passwords - the name. Thomas is a perennially popular name in the UK (2nd most popular in 2000), so it is perhaps no surprise that it makes the top 10, with nearly 1 in 1,000 people opting for this ubiquitous forename as their password. We can only guess that there are a lot of fans of Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Edison out there! The high prevalence of Christian names only further reinforces the fact that loved ones are a common choice when it comes to passwords.

9. 'arsenal' (1.11‰) - Football teams tend to be another popular choice, and the gunners fall in 9th place. This may or may not be reflective of the fact that the word 'arsenal' starts with a 4-letter swear word - another popular choice when it comes to passwords. Arsenal are ranked 6th overall in average attendance rankings, and are the 2nd most popular football-related password.

8. 'monkey' (1.33‰) - Quite why the monkey makes it into 8th place is beyond me, but the fact that it's a 6-letter word (6 letters is a typical minimum length for passwords), is easily typed and is memorable probably helps cement its position as ideal password material. Still, it's quite worrying that there's such a trend - perhaps the internet and monkeys are inextricably linked?

7. 'charlie' (1.39‰) - Another name - nowhere near as common a name as No. 10, Thomas, but it's our most popular name-based password overall. Could of course, be a homage to a number of famous Charlies - Chaplin, Sheen, or those of a Chocolate Factory persuasion. Or, of course, it could just be the case that they're referring to it's slang usage.

6. 'qwerty' (1.41‰) - I wonder where the inspiration for this one came from? Perhaps when faced with a blinking cursor and an instruction to choose a password people will tend to look to the things closest to them - which would explain why 1 in 700 people choose 'qwerty' as their password.

5. '123456' (1.63‰) - Can you count to 6? It's the most common minimum required length of password - and the 5th most common password.

4. 'letmein' (1.76‰) - A modern-day version of 'open sesame' - and 1 person in 560 will type 'letmein' as their password. Quite why is beyond me. I could be mistaken, but I have a hunch that 'letmein' has been featured in a movie or TV series - Fox Mulder's password from the X Files - 'trustno1' - also ranked quite highly.

3. 'liverpool' (1.82‰) - The most popular football team by some margin, Liverpool was the third most popular password overall. Does this mean that 1 in 550 people is such a devout Liverpool fan that they would be willing to entrust private data to the team they love? Liverpool ranked 3rd in the average attendance ratings - leaving the 2 most popular teams, Manchester United and Newcastle United, out of the top 10 list - perhaps because they're too long and difficult to type.

2. 'password' (3.780‰) - Akin to pressing the 'any' key, when told to enter a 'password', it would seem that users aren't the sharpest tool in the box - with almost 1 in 250 people choosing the word 'password'.

1. '123' (3.784‰) - With nearly 4 people in 1,000 opting for a simple numerical sequence as their password (it should be noted that there was no lower length limit specified), '123' must be the first thing a lot of people think of when asked to specify a password. One dreads to think what their PIN number might be!

Rethinking your password yet?


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