According to Imperva a company that makes software for blocking hackers, many people still use weak passwords that leave their systems wide open for attacks. It is like leaving a key under the door mat. Imperva examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a Californian company that makes software for users of social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and found that nearly 1% of the 32 million people it studied had used "123456" as a password and one million RockYou users chose the following passwords. [1]

1.  123456,   2. 12345,  3.  123456789,  4.  password,  5.  iloveyou,  6.  princess,
7.  rockyou,  8.  1234567,  9.  12345678, 10,  abc123,  11.  nicole, 12.  daniel,
13. babygirl,  14. monkey,  15.  jessica,  16. lovely,   17. michael,  18. ashley,   
19. 654321,   20. qwerty,   21. iloveyou,
22. michelle,  23. 111111,  24. 0,   25. tigger, 
26. password1,  27. sunshine,  28. chocolate,  29. anthony,  30. angel,  31. FRIENDS, 

32. soccer.


Take a look at the list. If you have used any of these passwords, it is likely that there have already been some breaches to your computer system. My grandson used "abc123" as password mainly because it is easy for him to remember, but I convinced him to change it a few months ago.

If you are still not convinced you should change your passwords, take a look at The Top 500 Worst Passwords of all Time, “…Approximately one out of every nine people uses at least one password on the list shown in [that table]. And one out of every 50 people uses one of the top 20 worst passwords..” If your password is one of these 500, change it immediately! My grandson's favorite, 'abc123' is number 18 on this list. Other common passwords on this list are: pussy (no.5), dragon (no. 7), 696969 (no. 9), and f**kme (no.20). Yes, you guessed correctly what the asterisks stand for. Indeed some people like to use vulgar words as passwords too! It reflects on their personalities.

In China, a favorite password is '5201314' which sounds like the pinyin of "wo ai ni yi sheng yi shi" which means "I love you forever". A variation is '5261314' which means "I hate you forever". These passwords are giveaways to Chinese hackers. The younger generation of netitions in China has a variety of common numbers that stand for some hip phrases but these are just "no-brainers" for hackers to crack.

5201314 就是我爱你一生一世
5261314 就是我恨你一生一世

 I also recommend you read One Man's Blog on How I'd Hack Your Weak Passwords. [3] There are many software programmes for hacking your systems and some of them are free of charge. Insecure.org has a list of the Top 10 FREE Password Crackers. [4]

Now that you are seriously concerned, you may ask: "How can I create strong passwords?". One U.S. agency suggested using at least 12-digits with a host of other precautionary measures. Yes, I use a 12-digit password and to make it easier to remember, I use a catch phrase and modify the digits. The blog Create a Password gives some very good advice. [5]

By now, you should be ready to change all your passwords. Have fun and remember writing it down in your little black book, otherwise you will have no choice but to go to Insecure.org to download a free password cracker to crack your own passwords.

May you live your second half live without regrets!

Sources:
1. "123456" New York Times as reported in the Straits Times, Technology, p.A14
2. The Top 500 Worst Passwords of all Time, News, Password Info, What's My Pass?
3. John P., How I'd Hack Your Weak Passwords, One Man's Blog, Mar26, 2007
4. Top 10 FREE Password Crackers
5. e-Lamb.org blogs, Create a Password