Here are 10 awful passwords that make life easy for hackers
Reusing passwords might be more risky than you think
Many people are making things easy for hackers because of their simple passwords, new research suggests.
Tech experts analysed the masses of passwords leaked during the Yahoo data breach and other recent cyber-attacks .
Jeff Yan of Lancaster University and other authors said reusing similar passwords across many sites made users more vulnerable than they may realise.
They said the risk of criminals using snippets of personal information to guess passwords for specific individuals – rather than just generic passwords anyone might use – had been underestimated.
The 10 passwords to avoid
But their research also includes a list of the 10 most common passwords among people with Yahoo accounts.
The most common password is 123456 – with 12345678 and 123456789 also popular.
The second most common is “password”, followed by “welcome” and “ninja”.
Others making up the top 10 are “abc123”, “sunshine”, “princess” and “qwerty”.
The authors say many people actually use their names, birthdays and phone numbers or variations of them in their passwords too.
“This is a serious security concern”
Their paper reads: “Targeted online guessing can exploit not only weak popular passwords, but also passwords reused across sites and passwords containing personal information.
“This is a serious security concern, since various personally identifiable information and leaked passwords become readily available due to unending data breaches.
“Existing password creation rules and strength meters take no account of the targeted online guessing threat, which is increasingly more damaging and realistic.”
Dr Yan said: “Our results should encourage people to vary the passwords they use on different websites much more substantially to make it harder for criminals to guess their passwords.
“This work should also help inform Internet service providers looking to introduce more robust security measures to detect and resist online guessing.”
Dr Yan co-wrote the paper with Ding Wang, Zijian Zhang and Ping Wang of Peking University and Hinyi Huang of the Fujian Normal University in China.