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12/19/2017
08:00 AM
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'Starwars' Debuts on List of Worst Passwords of 2017

Many of the old standbys made this year's list of the 25 stolen - and weakest - passwords found dumped online.

Once again, the top two worst and most popular passwords of the year were "123456" and "Password." But one of the newest most commonly found compromised passwords this year was "starwars" at #16.

The 2017 Worst Passwords list, drawn from more than five million stolen and passwords found online and in plain text by researchers at password management firm SplashData, represents mostly credentials from users in North America and Western Europe. The list, now in its seventh year, doesn't include credentials exposed in the Yahoo breach, nor from compromised adult websites.

"Starwars," an apparent homage to the wildly popular Star Wars movie franchise, actually beat out the infamous "passw0rd," which came in at #17.  

Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, says his firm basically scrapes Pastebin and other online lists for exposed passwords. "We don't buy or decrypt any lists" of stolen credentials," he says.

Some of the other usual suspects hit the top ten once again, including "12345678," "qwerty," and "football," and newcomers to the top spots include the slightly longer yet still uncreative "123456789" (#6), "letmein" (#7), and "iloveyou" (#10).

"Over time, people still don't seem to be adopting better password hygiene," Slain says. "This [list] is to encourage people to take passwords more seriously and realize how sharing passwords or using the same one can expose you to risk."

What was obvious once again with this year's list is how passwords often reflect a user's interests, he says. "If you go through the list, you can see what's relevant to people … often people's names and pets' names, and a lot of popular culture."

According to SplashData,  about 10% of users have employed at least one of the top 15 worst passwords on the 2017 list, while 3% have chosen the infamous number one password, "123456."

While Slain says his company can't definitively discern when the exposed passwords were created, some are years old, he says.

But a new survey of 1,000 Americans by Visa shows that consumers are getting a bit weary of the password drill: 70% of the respondents consider biometrics simpler than passwords, and some 46% believe biometric authentication is more secure. Close to one-third have used fingerprint authentication on one or two occasions, while 35% do so on a regular basis. Half consider the big selling point of biometrics is no longer having to remember multiple passwords.

The catch, notes SplashData's Slain, is that with Apple's biometric options, for instance, you still have a password for your device. "When you update your device, you have to use the password behind the Touch ID, and if you haven't used the password in ages because you're using a fingerprint or" facial recognition, it's harder to recall the password, he says.

SplashData recommends that users set up passphrases of 12 characters or more, with upper- and lower-case letters, and a mix of characters, and avoiding password reuse among multiple online accounts.

Table 1: Top Worst Passwords of 2017

Rank Password
1 123456
2 Password
3 12345678
4 qwerty
5 12345
6 123456789
7 letmein
8 1234567
9 football
10 iloveyou
11 admin
12 welcome
13 monkey
14 login
15 abc123
16 starwars
17 123123
18 dragon
19 passw0rd
20 master
21 hello
22 freedom
23 whatever
24 qazwsx
25 trustno1
Source: SplashData

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2018 | 12:05:58 PM
Re: My recommendation
True enough about hobbies in general.  The vocabulatory and usage combinatoins is what does count.  You can like history enough to choose a segment of it as a small dictionery reference tool, i.e. words and numbers used in combination plus odd characters.  Ok, easy enough - but the combinations are what DOES matter.  And those can be astronomical indeed.  I have about 10 password combos in use at any one time --- but they are composed of words-numbers-char that are very difficult to crack unless you know my base logic which I am not spekaing of here for obvious reasons. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2017 | 5:51:26 PM
Re: My recommendation
@REISEN: Eh. Hobbies aren't necessarily *that* unique. People who pay any attention to me on social, for example, have an idea of the kind of stuff I'm into.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2017 | 5:50:22 PM
Re: Password Complexity Policy
@Ryan: Yeah, but what's even worse are IT-enforced security questions where you can only choose from a very short list of questions to which the answers are easily found or guessed.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
12/23/2017 | 5:49:23 PM
Re: My recommendation
@RyanSepe: Unless your hobbies *are* Star Wars-related...

The problem with using hobbies as the basis of passwords is that, often, hobbies are at least somewhat public in this day and age.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
12/19/2017 | 10:30:43 AM
Re: Bill Murray
...pretty sure he used the tune from "The Love Boat."
Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
12/19/2017 | 10:22:44 AM
Bill Murray
For some strange reason, I keep hearing Bill Murray's lounge lizard sketch on SNL, where he crooned that silly "Star Wars" song.
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
12/19/2017 | 9:43:40 AM
Re: My recommendation
Precisely - hobbies are UNIQUE and we all REMEMBER them very well.  You can use an abundance of tech terms whether history or just simple knitting and bunch together with any special character and there is a solid password without revealing ANY family details to give it away.  
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
12/19/2017 | 9:38:29 AM
Re: My recommendation
It is a matter of retention and complexity. Ships work for you and the same can be said for others. Mold your hobbies into a passphrase is a much better practice than 'starwars'.
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
12/19/2017 | 9:36:53 AM
Password Complexity Policy
For every single password in this list, it is abundantly transparent for why enforcing password complexity is paramount. Left to ones own devices many would create a password that could be cracked in a matter of seconds.
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
12/19/2017 | 9:00:35 AM
My recommendation
Users like passwords that are easy to remember - and this list certainly qualifies for dumb and dumber.  So for my 2 cents, everyone has a HOBBY - something unique to us that WE know and enjoy.  For me it is history and ships and there are any number of unique combinations I can mold data INTO to make a secure password and I WILL NEVER FORGET IT.  Easy. 
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