Despite the fact that users continue to cling to predictable and insecure passwords, the worst of them all is no longer the most popular.
Security firm SplashData reports that in 2013, "password" slipped from the top spot as the most popular log-in code. Taking over the dubious distinction of most popular (and perhaps least secure) passphrase was the numerical string "123456".
After "password", "12345678" was the third most popular login. Rounding out the top five passwords were "qwerty" and "abc123".
The top five will be enough to make any security administrator cringe, but the list should hardly come as a surprise. Despite countless warnings and advisories to move away from the predictable number sequences, such simple passwords have been pervasive for decades.
SplashData researchers also noted that the prevalence of simple passwords continues despite efforts by application vendors and service providers to mandate more secure passwords. Even when tasked with picking more sophisticated passcode combinations, users are opting for the simplest possible codes.
"Another interesting aspect of this year's list is that more short numerical passwords showed up even though websites are starting to enforce stronger password policies," said SplashData CEO Morgan Slain.
"For example, new to this year's list are simple and easily guessable passwords like '1234' at number 16, '12345' at number 20, and '000000' at number 25."
Other notable entries on the list were "iloveyou" as the ninth most popular bad password and "admin" as number 12; "monkey", interestingly enough, slipped all the way from the sixth spot last year down to number 17 overall.
Users also seem to harbor delusions of grandeur, as "princess" was the 22nd most popular password. Wordplay appeared at number 24 – "trustno1" – which was obviously not as clever as users thought it was.
The rankings, which were pulled from public dumps of pilfered passwords, added an Adobe feel this year. SplashData said that that company's massive 2.9 million–user password dump helped get terms such as 'adobe123' and 'photoshop' into the top 25.
Avoiding the use of easily-guessed passwords is simple enough if users employ a bit of creativity and standard best practices, such as using hard-to-guess mnemonic device and mixing letters and numbers (non-sequential, obviously) in their passwords.®