If Your Password is “Password,” Read This

MonkeyEvery year a company named Splash Data publishes a list of the worst passwords of the year. Their list from 2012 shows that, despite all of the warnings about security on the Internet, many people continue to pick some really bad passwords. It is as if they were inviting hackers (people who illegally break into someone’s website or computer) to steal their information.

Here are some of the worst ones. If you use one of these, you might want to reconsider (rethink) your password, or stop using the Internet:

password – Yes, that’s right. Thousands of people actually use “password” as their password. It was number 1 on the list. I guess it’s easy to remember! More interestingly, some people have started to realize that “password” isn’t a very secure (safe) password, so they’ve started using something they think is much better: password1. (Seriously! It is number 25 on the list.)

123456 – No hacker would guess this one, I’m sure. I mean, what are the chances (odds; probability) that these numbers would occur (appear) together in the real world?

qwerty – These are the first five letters of the second row of keys on a standard English keyboard. In fact, we sometimes call the standard English keyboard a “Qwerty” keyboard.

monkey – This is an animal you find in a jungle (see photo), but I don’t really understand why so many people choose it as a password. There is an old expression in English, “Monkey see, monkey do,” used when someone does something just because he sees someone else doing it. Perhaps these people saw other people use “monkey” as a password and did the same thing.

letmein To let someone in means to allow them to enter, to go into somewhere. Here, of course, people are actually inviting hackers to go into their computers.

baseball – Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the U.S., and I personally think it is the greatest sport in the world (Go Dodgers!). This one was number 10 on the list of worst passwords. But what about “football”? Don’t worry, it also made (was on) the list, at number 20.

trustno1 – This is another way of writing “trust no one,” meaning you should not put your confidence in anyone. This is absolutely correct, which is why it is my favorite on the list. People who use it actually appear to trust everyone, since they have made it so easy for anyone to hack into their accounts.


Photo credit: Proboscis Monkey, Wikipedia CC

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17 Responses to If Your Password is “Password,” Read This

  1. h3aL says:

    I’m wondering if naive Germans prefer “qwertz” as one of their favourite passwords since our keyboard has the “z” where the “y” is on an English one. Of course, in Germany you often hear “Qwertz-Tastatur” as its name.

    My favourite stupid password on the list from Splashdata website is definitely “welcome”. It wasn’t in the 2011 list and went up straight to number 17!

    What can I say but: Welcome “welcome”!

  2. Anna says:

    Hello Jeff and everyone,

    It is funny article. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Actually, I also use easy password for unimportant web sites which required registration 🙂


  3. Zyga says:

    Hello Jeff,

    What about date of birth?


  4. mohammad reza sh says:

    hello Dr.Jeff

    Some people use there telephone numbers as a password and it possibly might not be dangerous whit a few exceptions :d

  5. Myo ko ko says:

    The first question that comes into my mind after I’ve finished reading your post is how did the
    company know the users’ passwords. Did people give the company their passwords volunteerly?
    Did the company hack the people’s accounts to get the data for this research?

    Speaking of hackers and online security,
    I’m worried only about my gmail account because I and most myanmar people don’t have many
    accounts. People of the same age as me have gmail, Facebook accounts. We don’t use Twitter to
    tweet each other, instead we use this chatting program called G – Talk, an application of Google,
    to chat. My gmail account’s password contains 17 characters. First 5 characters are numbers,
    and the name of a city takes another 7 characters, and then another 5 numerical characters.
    (Well, I don’t think a hacker is reading our comments here, is he?! 😉 )

    Reading your post, I’m considering changing my gmail password into 123456789.
    Yes, a hacker would not expect such a complicated password because my new password is so
    complex that it would make his head spin if he tries to hack my account! I just know it! 😉

    Well, another interesting thing,
    You see, they said human beings genetically came from monkey.
    maybe this is an apperant reason to why so many people use “monkey” as their passwords.
    Who knows? 😉

    Thanks Jeff
    A lot of fun from your post and
    A lot of terms for me to acquire English.

    Myo ko ko
    (Oh my! Look! my name itself contains four letters from this animal, monkey! What a heck!) 😉

  6. HILARIO says:

    ODDS WORDS MATTER.- Jeff, you might not be so smart but you’re definitely a really intelligent guy, that’s making big difference these days and I do not intend to flatter you. Please, subscribe ten points out of ten for you, for this post. In my case the Basque words help me enough as hackers are not usually speak Basque.

  7. Øyvor Steinsheim says:

    Hi Jeff and Lucy
    Thanks for sharing this=)
    My password are rather complicated I think, so I hope for the best!! I might change them more often..
    My language has some letters that the English alphabet don`t have, but I never use them as passwords, simply because
    it doesn`t work when I try..so I`ll stivk to my long ones, and most important, use both letters and numbers..
    and of course, a good virus program.. but we are never sure, hackers can do everything I guess..
    Best wishes, have a beatiful day members! I`m outdoors preparing next winter`s wood for the fireplace,
    a relaxing hobby, escpecially during october..But…we are having snowcapped mountains..far too early!

  8. Yáskara Paiva says:

    First of all, great article.

    It is very important to create a complex password, especially if it is used at ATMs.

    But in the case of the Internet, the concern goes beyond the complexity of the password.

    You must be careful not to download any program like spyware (keylogger) whose purpose is to record everything that is typed in your computer: passwords, credit card numbers and so on. And in this case, your password can be the most complex possible that to the program does not make any difference. ;o)

  9. emiliano says:

    That´s very good Jeff, I do think this subject touch our heart very closely.
    Who has not a passward now?, but not eve one, two, three, fourth or even too much more.

    By my way I have to change this one, that one, the other one, frequently.
    Why, it is easy, lot of intents of hackers to get into the account.

    A big mistery for me, what for?

    My gmail account has three or four intents of getting into it, twice in USA onother in
    Canada, google advised me with a mail and I had to change it three or four times.

    Why for? I cant understand?, my be having a blog and writing in it could be
    something like attractive?….I don´t know.

    My passwords are not very complicated, I have to type them such a lot of time
    and for such a lot of sites that is like puzzle.

    Thanks Jeff.


  10. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Hello friends on ESL.
    Yes, this is a great piece of advice for those who don’t care about his own security. Letters like kyxz with numbers mixed inside is a good idea to make your account more secure. But one thing is true: there is no lock for hackers. Whatever is your precaution to prevent from intruders, there will ever be someone who will try to break your secrets and break into your house. Those who read mankind history knows that tricks have been around everywhere since ancient people. The bible says it in all its books from Old Testament to New Testament. War, slaughters, thieves and other crooked people have lived the world from the very beginning. So, better to get used to this kind of man behavior.
    Aecio from wonder land.

  11. Lassana says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Hi Jeff, I’m very surprised about these kinds of passwords. I thought it was a joke 🙂
    how people can used these passwords. In reality it is not passwords !

    It’s a sort of appel to hackers in order they steal some informations about them.

    See you soon


  12. Myo ko ko says:

    Yep, Dear emiliano
    Me too received such a warning from Google.
    I noticed there were more than three unauthorized attempts or so to break into my gmail
    account. The local computer experts alerted the gmail account users to be computer-survvy and
    to use complex passwords for their accounts and if possible to change their passwords at least
    once a month. Also there are ample of methods that hackers use to get illegal access into
    network-connected computers all over the world.

    Well, I personally feel that someone is watching behind my back everytime I surf the Net.

  13. Parviz says:

    Be careful

    Thank you Jeff. I have been away from and missed your posts for a while. Don’t worry I visit when it is possible.
    Actually, I was busy working on my website. Some friends mine and I were arguing about the security.
    A lot of bad news are out there about hacking the computers, so I am worried about the safety of my website.
    I saw some of my friends now and then giving very easy-to-guess passwords to their computers. isn’t it that they don’t get the issue seriously or
    is something else involved?

    Thank you

  14. Myo ko ko says:

    To say, I learned a lot from your post .
    Honestly, as an ESL learner, I don’t know much of this language.
    Thanks to your wonderful podcasts, scripts and this resourceful Blog,
    I get the best method to get my language acquisition improved as far as possible,
    I get this very opportunity of getting familiar with the way that a typical U.S. native speaker speaks, writes, thinks.

    When I read blog posts here on this lovely Blog, I don’t just read the lines you all put down,
    don’t just learn the expressions, phrases you all teach in the posts.
    For me, there is more than that.
    I don’t know how to put it down here. . . . let me see if I can make it . . .
    I always try to grasp the “feeling” or if not something like “emotion” covering behind the sentences.
    To put it in another way, I always try to read the author’s mind,
    always try to know the emotion that prompts the author to write down a sentence or a group of words.

    For instance, if I’m reading a sentence in your post, I always eager to know the feeling behind the sentence.
    I always wonder what emotion prompts you to write that sentence, why you use that word and so on . . .

    Of course this technique has helped me a lot in acquiring the language although I don’t know why it helps me.

    Thanks Jeff
    Myo ko ko

  15. Ben says:

    Hey,Jeff,my dear teacher.
    The topic like this normally draws persons’ attentions.
    This refers to the security on the information highway,maybe involving people’s account of bank,Email or something like that.
    Especially the electronic commerce has been developed so fast that passwords are supposed to be one of the most
    important wealth.
    And you know,more than 95% of people has used windows system in my country regarless of home or the place.And the windows system qualified the password whicn
    ought to include three choices of four which are digital,capital,lowercase and special(e.g. . , !).
    So It seems more secure

  16. Nermin Eminova says:

    Thanks, my teacher, I really enjoy reading this post 🙂 Very interesting.

  17. Mohammad Reza says:

    Hello jeff & all

    My password was 12345zxcvb. Now I know it is so easy for any one to guess, and I want to change it to: zxcvb12345 !!! are you confirm it? ( LOL)

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