Every year, digital security company SplashData releases its list of the most popular — and thus, easiest to guess — passwords. They comb through all of the passwords that were leaked that year, two million total in 2015, to find out which ones reign supreme. Of course, “password” is always on the list, but this year brought some surprises, including some new contenders from a galaxy far, far away, as well as upsets with one popular sport overtaking another for the first time. I've noted which ones didn't appear on last year's list.
Without further ado, here are SplashData’s 25 most popular passwords of 2015:
12. 1234567890 (new)
15. 1qaz2wsx (new)
20. login (new)
21. princess (new)
22. qwertyuiop (new)
23. solo (new)
24. passw0rd (new)
25. starwars (new)
Fortunately, this list indicates that people are finally taking password security at least a bit more seriously because the most popular passwords have become longer over the years. Unfortunately, a lot of them are still incredibly simple and therefore easy to guess. Sure, newbie and twelfth place finisher “1234567890” is technically more complex than reigning champ “123456,” but it’s still just an ordered, numerical sequence.
Other interesting finds are “football,” which finally overtook “baseball” as America’s favorite sports pastime — er, password. And the Force has truly awakened for people who were hacked last year, with “starwars" and “solo” joining the list of passwords for the first time (along with “princess,” which could be an allusion to Leia).
Once again, if one of your passwords is on this list, change it immediately. You might not have been targeted this time, but you should at least make it as hard as possible for anyone with ill intentions to grab your information.
You can also find out how many times your personal data has been compromised using a New York Times app and if your email has been compromised. And if your email has been hacked, you can follow these steps to regain control of your mailbox.
It’s also really simple to minimize your risk of password theft. Be sure to use different passwords for all of your accounts, which can be difficult to remember, but apps that track your passwords make easy. You should always use eight or more characters with numbers, punctuation marks and capital letters to make things more complex. Use the first letters of a phrase or sentence that's meaningful to you and then be creative in using uppercase and swapping in special characters. And, when available, use two-factor authentication, which requires those logging in to not only have your password, but also another form of identification, like a code texted to your cell phone.
[Bad Password via Shutterstock]