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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Fri 31st Jul 2009



You can’t even switch on your computer without it asking for some sort of password, that is before you’ve even entered the wonderful world of the passwords on the internet. So I suggest you all take a look at the “500 worst passwords of all time.” As I can probably guarantee you unless you’re pretty strict with your passwords yours will not be difficult to guess and could even be on the list!

A good password should have two ground rules, firstly it is difficult to guess by a someone who doesn’t know it and also easily recalled by its owner.

Not surprisingly the most popular passwords are “123456 & “password” however some of the list are quite intriguing the number of obscene words, cars, and even Batman just misses out of on the top 30.

The list comes from the rather outdated book which was published in 2005 “Perfect Password: Selecttion, Protection, Authentication” however its quiet unique so is stil a valid area of resource.

One out of nine passwords used is on the list and about 50% of passwords are “based on names of a family member, spouse, partner, or a pet,” according to the book’s teaser on Amazon. Just ask Sarah Palin Whose Email was hacked last September by someone who reset her password using her zipcode, birthdate and where she met her spouse. When asked where she went to high school, the hacker entered  “Wasilla High” and was right. Such is the price of celebrity and people knowing a lot about you.

Passwords are a challenge. Like you, I often want quick access to a site and view the password as an obstacle deserving little attention. However, I  am shamed to admit.. even I have been caught napping with part of one of my passwords on the list.  

In a recent discussion with fellow bloggers, one said he keeps passwords only in his head. He never writes them down ANYWHERE. I have far too many for that and lack the photographic mind he must have. He also avoids passwords hints such as a boyhood dog or mother’s maiden name given what happened to Palin.

A colleague of mine swears by password manager Roboform which can be downloaded for about $35. I personally prefer a different method.. which obviously I cannot reveal! But I feel my system is as secure as the best so therefore no need to change.

There’s plenty of advice on how to create a good password such as Microsoft’s six-steps to creating "a strong, memorable password" Some of the advice is obvious, but worth repeating.

– Use a mix of symbols, characters and numbers. Use spaces if allowed.
– If you can’t use symbols, double the number of characters.
– Think of a memorable sentence and take the first letter of each word and combine into a password.
– Use a password checker to test its strength.

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