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Application Security

12/18/2019
09:35 AM
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'Password' Falls in the Ranks of Favorite Bad Passwords

Facebook, Google named worst password breach offenders.

What do President Donald Trump, the word "password," and string "12345678" have in common?

All fell in the ranks of SplashData's annual Worst Passwords of the Year list, published today. After making an appearance in the 2018 list, "donald" is not among this year's top 25 most dangerous and commonly leaked passwords. "Password," which has held first or second place in the nine years SplashData has been ranking risky passwords, has fallen into fourth place, and "12345678," previously number four, came in sixth.

The company evaluated more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet to compile this year's list. In first place was "123456," holding the top spot from last year, followed by "123456789" and "qwerty." While it's positive to learn people are less frequently using "password" to secure their accounts, SplashData says, it warns many continue to employ easily guessable words and alphanumeric patterns. Many modern websites and applications prevent these simple passwords from being used; however, some older ones still allow it.

There were a few consistent passwords on this year's list, among them "princess," "iloveyou," and "welcome." New entries included "1q2w3e4r" and "qwertyuiop," which may seem complicated to some but likely won't trick hackers who can guess simple keyboard patterns.

Everyone, from consumers to high-profile tech companies, should be reconsidering their password practices. Facebook and Google were among the major corporations that made Dashlane's fourth annual list of "Worst Password Offenders," also published this week. The list highlights prominent people and organizations that experienced password blunders in 2019.

Facebook took the top spot following incidents in which it exposed passwords of hundreds of millions of users and breached privacy by requesting new users' email passwords and collecting contacts without consent. For years, we learned, Facebook stored account passwords in plaintext on internal data storage systems. The company also left a server unprotected sans password, exposing the phone numbers and records of more than 400 million people.

Google came in second. This year the tech giant admitted to accidentally storing some G Suite users' passwords in plaintext since 2005. As Dashlane points out, incidents like this can have major implications for companies and their users if attackers get their hands on passwords.

Other mentions on the list include Lisa Kudrow, who took third place for posting an Instagram photo that had a Post-it with her password in the background. Congressman Lance Gooden was caught on camera unlocking his iPhone with passcode "777777" during the televised testimony from Mark Zuckerberg before the House Financial Services Committee. And WeWork made the list for using the same weak password across its entire global Wi-Fi network. Dashlane's list also included Elsevier, Virgin Media UK, GPS Trackers by Shenzhen i365 Tech, and Ellen Degeneres.

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Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "How to Manage API Security."

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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