In December 2009, a hacker posted on the Internet 32 million passwords stolen from website RockYou.com. Yes, that's right — 32 million stolen passwords. This list of passwords provided a unique, if unfortunate, opportunity to study whether people are using passwords effectively to protect their personal information.
The results? Not good.
An analysis of the passwords by security firm Imperva shows that using easy-to-hack passwords is still far too common. In fact, nearly 1% of RockYou.com users had "123456" as their password. And a full 20% used one of 5,000 common passwords.
The practical impact of this is huge. According to Imperva's CTO Amichai Shulman, "Everyone needs to understand what the combination of poor passwords means in today's world of automated cyber attacks: with only minimal effort, a hacker can gain access to one new account every second—or 1,000 accounts every 17 minutes" .
How to protect yourself
Fortunately, you can easily protect your personal information by following a few simple rules for creating strong passwords and avoiding cross-use of passwords on multiple sites. And, there are passwords programs available to help keep all of your strong passwords in order. Our article Manage Your Passwords will show you how.
Top 20 Passwords from RockYou.com
|Rank||Password|| Number of Users