If you can count to 10, you can crack most passwords. That seems to be the case by looking at most of the thousands of leaked Windows Live ID passwords last week – they very often are just simple number combinations such as “123456”, birth dates or names. Passwords that can easily be found out – or guessed.
It’s not just Hotmail users being careless with security. Phishers have also leaked a list with more than 20,000 usernames and passwords from Gmail, Yahoo and AOL – showing the same easy passwords, in way too many cases.
Security firm Acunetix had a look at the Hotmail-list of leaked passwords. Among some of the most common passwords you will find “123456”, “123456789”, “1111111”. Out of the 10,000 passwords, 42% were lower-case letters. Only 6% used a combination of letters and numbers – which is a safer way of creating your password.
The longest password supposedly is 30 characters long: “lafaroleratropezoooooooooooooo” and the shortest is “)” – but I wonder how it’s even possible to create such a short password, it shouldn’t be.
Change Passwords Frequently
Security experts often recommends users to change their password frequently – especially after events like those recently where lots of passwords have been leaked.
So I’ll end this article by recommending you to change your most important passwords today! Use a combination of letters and numbers – and if possible, include characters such as “!”, “.” etc. You can also do a combination of lower-case and upper-case letters, most systems nowadays supports case sensitive passwords.