Data diggers’ dumpster dive demonstrates dumb and dumberer defences
The security industry’s ongoing efforts to educate users about strong passwords appears to be for naught, with a new study finding the most popular passwords last year were 123456 and 123456789.
Keeper Security wonks perused breached data dumps for the most popular passwords when they made the despondent discovery.
Some 1.7 million accounts used the password “123456”, or 17 per cent of the 10 million hacked accounts the firm studied.
If security educators and evangelists, currently stewing over how to bury entropy and serve users bite-sized security password snacks are tempted to down tools and go home, Keeper Security researchers will not try and stop them.
“Looking at the list of 2016’s most common passwords, we couldn’t stop shaking our heads,” the researchers say.
“The list of most-frequently used passwords has changed little over the past few years.
“That means that user education has limits [and], while it’s important for users to be aware of risks, a sizable minority are never going to take the time or effort to protect themselves.”
This leaves the job of stopping users from hurting themselves to overworked IT administrators and website operators, they say.
Further: those admins who permit short and shonky passwords are “either reckless or lazy”.
Killing “123456” as a password choice will not much help: four of Keeper Security’s top 10 passwords and seven of the top 15 use six characters, or fewer.
“This is stunning in light of the fact that today’s brute-force cracking software and hardware can unscramble those passwords in seconds.”
There are some instances of randomised passwords in the list but the commonality of those indicates use by a large botnet which deploys the same codes on accounts it registers, so reckons security chatter Grahame Cluely. ®
Keeper Security’s 2016 most popular password list
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