IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Having Fun With Passwords

I got a kick out of an analysis of a recent hack.  After the RockYou application was hacked in December, exposing 32 million consumer passwords, security vendor Imperva analyzed the passwords to discover the most commonly used ones.  Remarkably, they are the same passwords many of us listed as the worst passwords you could possibly use back in 1995.
Some of the worst, but most common, and therefore most easily guessable passwords are:
  • Password
  • Qwerty
  • princess
  • michael

But the absolute hands down winner in the Imperva report, Consumer Password Worst Practices, was the notorious:

  • 123456

Passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess.  For examle, you could take two names that would never be found together in any dictionary.

  • JolieCroft  (Name of a great actress in her finest role)

Yet its always a good idea to mix in numbers or special characters.  A password like this, T%kj)9jX is really hard to guess, and super tough to remember.  The key to making a great password - and remembering it - is to have fun!

  • H2o+Scotch
  • I1l9s6s2 (first letters of "I love star trek" intermixed with a 4-digit number)
  • I!L(S^[email protected] (the same as above, but holding down the shift key)

Even simple words and phrases may be made much better by substituting CAPs and special characters for regular letters. (These might be a little too obvious, but you get the idea.)

All of these passwords are excellent.  They have the key characteristics of being hard to guess and easy to remember.  Plus they bring a smile to your face

Take Away

  1. Avoid words or phrases written plainly
  2. Mix in capitals and special characters
  3. Make it fun!

About the Author

With more than 2,000 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users spanning the entire information communications and technology (ICT) industry, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem.

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