Internet users never learn. No matter how many times we hear about obvious, hackable passwords, people keep using them. And the situation doesn't seem to be getting better.
Below is a list of the 25 worst passwords of 2011, compiled by SplashData. The security software developer generated the list from millions of actual stolen passwords, posted online by hackers. Not surprisingly, the most common passwords are also the worst, including "password," "123456" and "qwerty." Even passwords that seem kind of unique, like "trustno1" and "shadow" are actually quite common. And why does "monkey" always show up on these lists?
Anyway, here's the full list:
SplashData has a few recommendations for keeping your data safe:
First, create a strong password consisting of letters, numbers and symbols. If you're worried about remembering long passwords, try using phrases of short words separated by underscores, such as "shiny_phones_rule_1." A phrase is easier to recall than a long, abstract mish-mash of characters.
Second, try not to spread the same password all over the Internet. At the very least, use separate passwords for important uses like online banking and e-mail. The last thing you want is for some poorly protected web forum to hold the same password as your bank account.
To make things super-simple, you can also use password management software, such as LastPass, Roboform, eWallet, SplashID or the free KeePass. These programs remember your passwords, allowing you to create long, complex strings of letters and numbers that you otherwise wouldn't be able to remember.