I know your password

Most people use dangerously common passwordsI know your password. It's 123456, right? Or your name? Your partner's name? Your child's (the good one)? How about letmein, or the old standby, password?

Are you a dog owner? Then Max or Maggie is part of your password. Cat owner? Tiger, Smokey or Tigger.

Statistics show that many computer users use the same, easily guessed passwords.
Let's look at several lists.
From a study by Imperva Application Defense Center of records leaked from Rockyou.com, via Tom's Hardware, the most common passwords are:
  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123
A list of passwords from lists leaked from Singles.org, MySpace and phpBB, compiled by Jimmy Ruska:
  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. phpbb
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. jesus
  7. 12345678
  8. 1234
  9. abc123
  10. letmein
One man's Blog would start hacking your computer by trying these passwords:
  1. Your name or those close to you, perhaps followed by a number
  2. The last four of your Social Security number
  3. Good old 1234 or a longer version of same
  4. Password
  5. Your team's name (Go Browns)
  6. Your birth date, or that of someone dear to you
  7. God
  8. Letmein
  9. Money
  10. Love
According to the Imperva study, one in four of us use passwords only six characters long, no challenge for the hacker. Over three-quarters of us use passwords of nine characters or fewer.

What's the time savings? It took me:
  • 1.415 seconds to type 123456
  • 3.605 seconds to type wallEtpop30, a much stronger password
So with the weak password I save 2.19 seconds each time I enter it. If I enter 10 sites a day, I save 21.9 seconds. In a year, I'll have saved 133 minutes out of the 1,314,000 available.

A creep can waste far more of your time than that if he has your password. Not only can he get into some of your finances, but he can, for example, spam your friends, create false entries in your Facebook account, bid on items on eBay, send nasty letters in your name to your boss and enroll you in a spouse swapper's site.

It's obvious to me that we either don't trust our ability to remember passwords or that we underestimate the damage that could be done by having our accounts hacked.

Don't be a chump; dump the crappy password. Check the strength of your password with the Microsoft Password Checker.

Need some help crafting great passwords? Check out my password suggestions.
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