Social networking site breach exposes most popularly used passwords

An analysis of more than 32 million exposed passwords revealed "123456" as the most commonly used security code when logging into online accounts.

Social networking services and customized widget company, Rockyou.com, suffered a data breach in December 2009.

The breach included millions of people's email addresses and passwords for Rockyou.com (and in many cases passwords and login details for associated social networking sites). The hacker responsible for the attack subsequently posted the full list of passwords on the internet.

The compromised password and login data was examined by US-based security company, Imperva Application Defense Center (ADC).

The ease and scale of this security breach should read as a warning to everyone logging onto web-based social networks, email accounts or online ecommerce sites - especially those who use the same passwords for multiple accounts.

Pairing short, uncomplicated and easy-to-guess passwords with identical login credentials for multiple sites can put you at serious risk of identity theft and can easily result in your accounts being compromised by prying eyes.

"Everyone needs to understand what the combination of poor passwords means in today's world of automated cyber attacks: with only minimal effort, a hacker can gain access to one new account every second-or 1000 accounts every 17 minutes," explained Imperva's CTO Amichai Shulman in a January 21 report announcement.

"The data provides a unique glimpse into the way that users select passwords and an opportunity to evaluate the true strength of passwords as a security mechanism. Never before has there been such a high volume of real-world passwords to examine."

Surprisingly, the analysis of the Rockyou.com data confirms that consumer password habits have changed very little over the past two decades. Almost 50 percent of users opt for passwords that are names and easily understood words or use trivial passwords such as consecutive digits and adjacent keyboard keys.

A full analysis of the 32 million Rockyou.com passwords show the most commonly used passwords are:
1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. rockyou
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123

To keep your accounts safe, NASA recommends adhering to the following steps when creating a password:

1. It should contain at least eight characters.
2. It should contain a mix of four different types of characters - upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as !@#$%^&*,;" If there is only one letter or special character, it should not be either the first or last character in the password.
3. It should not be a name, a slang word, or any word in the dictionary. It should not include any part of your name or your e-mail address.
4. Choose a strong password for sites where you care about the privacy of the information you store. Bruce Schneier's advice is useful: "take a sentence and turn it into a password. Something like "This little piggy went to market" might become "tlpWENT2m." That nine-character password won't be in anyone's dictionary."
5. Use a different password for all sites - even for the ones where privacy isn't an issue. To help remember the passwords, again, following Bruce Schneier's advice is recommended: "If you can't remember your passwords, write them down and put the paper in your wallet. But just write the sentence - or better yet - a hint that
will help you remember your sentence."
6. Never trust a third party with your important passwords (webmail, banking, medical etc.)

The information formed part of Imperva's Consumer Password Worst Practices report.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Senior Account Executive / Account Executive

£25 - 30k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are looking for an Accoun...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Resourcer / Junior Recruiter

£15-20k (DOE) + Benefits / Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright R...

Web Designer / Digital Designer

£25 - 40k (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Web Desig...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments