Monday, November 21, 2011

Lemming Tracks: "password" As a Password?!

"25 Worst Internet Passwords"
Technology, FoxNews.com (November 20, 2011)

"If 'password' is your password, chances are you've been the victim of a hack attack.

" 'Password' is the least successful, according to SplashData's annual list of worst Internet passwords.

"The list, notes Mashable.com, is somewhat predictable. Sequences of adjacent numbers or letters on the keyboard, such as 'qwerty' and '123456,' and popular names...."

Here's Mashable.com's complete list:
  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. monkey
  7. 1234567
  8. letmein
  9. trustno1
  10. dragon
  11. baseball
  12. 111111
  13. iloveyou
  14. master
  15. sunshine
  16. ashley
  17. bailey
  18. passw0rd
  19. shadow
  20. 123123
  21. 654321
  22. superman
  23. qazwsx
  24. michael
  25. football

A Mild Rant By the Lemming

No pressure, but the Lemming strongly suggests that, if anybody out there is still using "password" as a password: CHANGE IT! Unless, of course, whoever uses "password" or "123456" as a password wants to get hacked. Why anyone would want that is a mystery to the Lemming. Normal human psychology is convoluted enough: never mind the non-Euclidean terrain of a mind seeking unwanted intrusions.

Mind you, SplashData / Mashable.com has compiled a list of abysmally bad passwords: not, the Lemming sincerely hopes, common passwords. After the high-profile hacks and access hassles of the last year: surely there aren't all that many folks out there who still use "password" as their password.

Still, you never know.

Strong Passwords

Absolute security may be impossible, but using pretty good passwords isn't. Lemming put a short list of resources at the end of this post, but as far as online security goes: You're on your own. This is the usual disclaimer: the Lemming assumes no responsibility for loss of data resulting from reading this post; unexpected weight loss may occur; not for internal use.

Okay, that's out of the way.

The University of Texas, Austin, had what seems to be a fairly common (and common-sense, in the Lemming's opinion) approach to making a password: use UPPER CASE and lower case letters; add numbers and punctuation marks in no particular sequence; more of the usual stuff. Some of which may not be allowed by the system you're using - again, in the Lemming's opinion.

A surprising number of companies are catching up to the Information Age: and that's another topic.

Finally, the U. of Texas, Austin, page has a piece of excellent advice that the Lemming can't recall reading elsewhere:

"...Make your password easy to type quickly. This will make it harder for someone looking over your shoulder to steal it...."
(Information Technology Services, University of Texas, Austin)

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