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By 21 January 2014 | Categories: news

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A simple fact of living in a digital world is the need for the ever-present (and some would maintain, ever-annoying) password. Now SplashData, a developer of a password manager utility, has revealed what the most popular (and worst) passwords in use currently are.

The bad news is that internet users on the whole seem to be no more security savvy. Topping the list of most commonly used passwords is ’123456’ followed by the just as easy to guess ‘password’ and then the hardly  less easy to guess, ‘12345678.’ Rounding out the top five most common are then ‘qwerty’ and ‘abc123’. Number six to ten are not much better, with ‘123456789’ leading the charge, followed by ‘111111’, ‘1234567’, ‘iloveyou’ and ‘adobe123’.

According to Morgan Slain, the CEO of SplashData, seeing passwords like 'adobe123' and 'photoshop' on this list “offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the website or application you are accessing.”

Other popularly used passwords include ‘monkey’; ‘letmein’; ‘admin’, and, our personal favourite for its sheer irony and nostalgically harkening back to the X-Files, ‘trustno1.’

Slain added that another interesting aspect of this year's list is that more short numerical passwords showed up even though websites are starting to enforce stronger password policies.

Take a guess

Indeed, none of the top ten are particularly hard to guess, despite the fact that hacking and having one’s account being compromised, and sensitive data stolen, is not a rare occurrence. Exacerbating matters is the fact that many people tend to use the same password across multiple services.

This means that if one service is compromised (which is far more likely than you might suspect) then cyberattackers would essentially have a master key to a hapless victim’s other accounts online. The chances of at least one of these accounts harbouring sensitive financial data, like credit card details, only become more likely.

The recommendation, therefore, is not unexpected with users being urged to use stronger passwords (for example, a combination of caps, numbers and letters) as well as having different passwords for different sites and online services.

Alternatively, users who fear that they will forget their various and numerous passwords can keep them stored in encrypted apps the likes of Dashlane or eWallet. It should go without saying, although we will say it anyway, that users of these should ensure the passwords for those apps are not ‘123456’ or ‘password.’    

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