Are you any good at creating passwords?

There's an interesting little study that's been done by security firm Imperva, which analyzed some 32 million passwords posted online in December by some enterprising hacker.

Imperva's analysis (www.imperva.com/docs/WP_Consumer_Password_Worst_Practices.pdf) shows pretty much what you'd expect -- people, in general, don't take passwords all that seriously.

There's no other way to explain how 30 percent of users chose passwords with six or fewer characters -- making them quite vulnerable to brute force attacks. Or why nearly half of the users chose slang words, proper names and words found in the dictionary.

Such things are frowned upon by security experts, who say they make you an easy target.

So, just for fun, let's look at the top 10 passwords found among those 32 million samples:

1. 123456

2. 12345

3. 123456789

4. Password

5. iloveyou

6. princess

7. rockyou (the name of the site the passwords were stolen from)

8. 1234567

9. 12345678

10. abc1233

If any of these look familiar, maybe it's time to put just a little more thought into your password selection -- particularly if the in question is guarding credit card data or anything else you don't want a total stranger to know.


Explore further

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Jan 31, 2010
I find the easiest way to create a very secure password as well as a way to easily remember it is to use a Chess opening in algebraic notation. For example e4Nf6e5Nd5d4 is a good start. If you want to add another layer of security you can relable the board columns with
T-U-N-A-F-I-S-H or other suitable combination of letters. For chess players these passwords are very easy to remember and have case-sensitive characters.

Feb 01, 2010
I've always found neighbors' cars' license plates to be a good source of passwords. Especially since I move around a lot, and most of my neighbors have gone through cars quickly...

Mar 09, 2010
just use longer sentence as a password, its easy to remember and pretty much unhackable in reasonable timeframe even with good rainbowtables (the longest were around 30 characters long)

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