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According to a report, most users still haven't answered the call by security experts to implement more robust passwords. In fact, in a list of the most easy to hack passwords, simply typing '123456' took a truly forgettable top prize.
Security firm Imperva recently released its list of the passwords most likely to be hacked based on 32 million instances of successful hacking. Imperva named their report "Consumer Password Worst Practices," and some of the entries near the top are truly simple and could lead to theft or identity fraud.
The top 10 bonehead passwords listed in the email:
It's safe to the say that the clueless users who rely on those for security are begging to be compromised or worse.
What not to use as passwords, aside from those gems above:
* One's birthdate or anniversary date
* Names of family members
* Birthdates of family members
* Names of pets
* Movie or popular song titles
* Names of actors/actresses or other famous people
In short, if you use such things as passwords, you make the job of the bad guys much easier.
The recommended approach is random characters, e.g., upper- and lower-case letters and digits, and punctuation if the system allows it. Even if one is restricted to alphanumeric characters, here's the math.
Using just upper/lower case letters and digits 0 to 9, there are 62 possible characters for each position in the password. Here are the number of combinations for passcodes from 5 to 10 characters.
5 -- 916,132,832
6 -- 56,800,235,584
7 -- 3,521,614,606,208
8 -- 218,340,105,584,896
9 -- 13,537,086,546,263,552
10 -- 839,299,365,868,340,224
How long would it require for a badass to be absolutely cetain of getting the correct ten-character random code based on the above approach?
A solar year is 31,556,926 seconds. If the person has a computer generating 1 million combinations per second, guaranteeing the correct combination of a 10-character PW would require up to 26,596 years. No one reading this has anything so interesting or crucial that anyone would spend a month trying to crack such a code, let alone 26,596 years. And of course attempting to break it online would take far longer, because no Web connection would handle a million attempts per second.
"AuntMartha" is a piss-poor password. "Xa93dg41Pz" is guaranteed to defeat the most dedicated cracker.