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Weakest passwords of 2018 revealed

01 January 2019 - 20:46 by Graham Miller

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A study by SplashData published last week has revealed the extent to which millions of the world’s web users are still leaving themselves exposed to exploitation by choosing extremely common and thoroughly crackable passwords when logging in to online services.

Leading the pack once again was the straightforward numeric string ‘12345’, with the word ‘password’ itself sitting in a close second.

This annually issued list is not only a reminder that anyone who wants to go shopping online should choose a strong password to prevent outsiders accessing their account but also indicates some of the trends that have permeated the public consciousness.

This is perfectly evidenced by the fact that the 23rd most widely chosen password of the year was ‘donald’. This is the first time that the name has entered the rankings and is clearly associated with the rise of Donald Trump in his role as President of the United States.

Observers have pointed out that it is unusual to see the first name, rather than the surname, of the current POTUS being deployed as a memorable phrase by a larger proportion of people with internet access.

Report spokesperson Morgan Slain told the Independent that people often pick a password that includes a reference to a celebrity they admire, a sports team they follow, or a musical act they love.

The problem with choosing any pop culture touchstone as a password is that this will doubtless be repeated by lots of other users, making it much less secure and easy to guess.

Recommendations for choosing strong passwords have remained the same for a long time: make sure that a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols with no coherent relationship to one another are used. Good password practices should really be enforced by online retailers; however, in the absence of minimum security requirements, it is necessary for consumers to take this into their own hands.