Webmail users neglect secure passwords


7 Oct 2009

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Following the publishing of more than 10,00 Hotmail accounts online, a researcher blogging for security firm Acutenix found that many of us don’t bother with secure passwords.

After analysing the usernames and passwords first published on website Pastebin, Bogdan Calin of Acutenix found that shockingly, when it comes to creating safe passwords, a lot of us can’t be bothered even trying.

The most popular password found from some of the 10,000 accounts published publicly was "123456". Yes, "123456"; 64 people chose this as a password – a way of accessing an online email account containing private information that could be used for identity-theft.

The second most-common password? 2123456789". Almost as bad, and with 19 people using it.

A name was the third most-common password followed by "111111" as the fourth most-commonly used. This may be a sample of 10,000 webmail users across the millions of email account holders worldwide, but it is enough to see that some of us need to take a fresh approach to online security.

Calin observed that a staggering 42pc of users have lower alpha passwords, ie, passwords containing only characters from "a" to "z", eg, "iloveyou" (this one also made it to the Top 20 passwords).

By Marie Boran

Photo: Security company Acutenix has found that when it comes to creating safe email passwords, many people can’t be bothered even trying.