Monday, February 8, 2010

Worst Possible Passwords

worst passwordsDo you really spend much time coming up with passwords for the variety of different websites that you utilize? Do you ever think about whether or not they’re really secure? Now if its some unimportant website that just happens to need a password, then maybe its not a big deal, but if its something like your online banking, then I think that you should definitely pay a little more attention.

This December, the popular photo sharing site,, was hacked. A list of user names and passwords was exposed on the Web for everyone to see. About a month later, Imperva, a security analysis firm, had compiled the most common passwords for the site, and it was pretty crazy.

The most popular password by a long shot was “123456.” 290,731 users utilized this simplistic password. 79,078 users had the less complex “12345” as their password. This was able to fulfill the minimum character requirement set down by the site, but obviously does very little for security.

Security experts have been telling people for years that they need to use more complex, secure passwords, especially since hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated. The RockYou analysis showed that 30 percent of users chose to use a password that was less than six characters long and 40 percent of their users only used lowercase letters in their password.

Imperva released a report that stated, “Assuming an attacker with a DSL connection of 55KBPS upload rate and that each attempt is 0.5KB in size, it means that the attacker can have 110 attempts per second. At this rate, a hacker will gain access to one new account every second or just less than 17 minutes to compromise 1000 accounts.”

Other popular passwords that surfaced included: “password,” “rockyou” the website’s name, “abc123,” and simple first names. Imperva gave some tips on creating a password. They recommended that users evade any letter and number combination passwords that appear in the dictionary. To have the strongest possible password, it is recommended that you use both upper and lower case letters and incorporate some numbers and special characters. Imperva showed that a mere 4% of users have special characters in their password. They said, “Just ten years ago, hacked Hotmail passwords showed little change. This means that the users, if allowed to, will choose very weak passwords even for sites that hold their most private data.”

People just need to be careful. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but when your own account gets hacked into, I think that it will seem a little bigger deal than you might have thought.

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1 comment:

John Beagle said...

I had my twitter account hacked a few years back. Since then I've made my passwords a thousand percent harder to hack.