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Worst passwords of 2013: 'Password' is no longer the top choice - but what is?

A survey of 2013's most popular passwords (as revealed by hackers) has shown that '123456' is now the most popular password

James Vincent
Tuesday 21 January 2014 10:35 GMT
If you can't remember your password, trying leaving yourself a subtle hint.
If you can't remember your password, trying leaving yourself a subtle hint. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

In news that will have computer security experts celebrating and shaking their heads, it seems that the most popular password is no longer ‘password’. It’s ‘123456’.

This is according to an annual survey from mobile software developers SplashData, who have collated a massive list of the most popular passwords used online from the data revealed by high profile hacks in 2013.

The main source for this year’s list was the cyberattack that hit Adobe in October, a hack that was originally thought to have targeted 2.9 million customers but was later revised to 38 million.

The Adobe hack certainly swayed the results of the survey (both ‘ adobe123’ and ‘photoshop’ make their first time appearence in the list - see below for the top 25) but the unseating of ‘password’ was the biggest surprise. It was relegated to second position, followed by ‘12345678’ in third place and ‘qwerty’ in fourth.

Other favourite standbys that also appeared included ‘abc123’, ‘ letmein’ and the ever redoubtable ‘111111’. A surprise appearance was also made by ‘trustno1’ – perhaps as a quiet rebuff to last year’s NSA revelations.

Take a look at technology that could be replacing passwords in the future:

For those who may recognise their own password on the list and are considering upgrading their security, security experts recommend that instead of trying to memorise a random jumble of letters and numbers such as ‘d73h58fjk’ we pick phrase passwords – combinations of known words such as ‘monkeysteeplefacejacket’ that tend to stick in the memory.

The concept was outlined in this well-known XKCD comic and although it has its flaws (for example, if a hacker knew this format was being used they could crack the password quite easily) it certainly beats ‘123456’ – or ‘password’.

Rank Password Change
1 123456 +1
2 password -1
3 12345678 Unchanged
4 qwerty +1
5 abc123 -1
6 123456789 New
7 111111 +2
8 1234567 +5
9 iloveyou +2
10 adobe123 New
11 123123 +5
12 admin New
13 1234567890 New
14 letmein - 7
15 photoshop New
16 1234 New
17 monkey -11
18 shadow Unchanged
19 sunshine - 5
20 12345 New
21 password1 +4
22 princess New
23 azerty New
24 trustno1 -12
25 0 New

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