‘123456’ is an incredibly bad password, and also still the most popular

(Image credit: Pixabay via geralt (no attribution needed))

For the fifth consecutive year, '123456' ranks as the most commonly used password, according to SplashData's evaluation of five million leaked passwords. After that, 'password' ranks as No. 2, followed by a whole bunch of other terrible letter and number combinations. What gives?

From SplashData's perspective, "bad habits die hard." The company has been generating a list of the top 100 worst passwords for nearly a decade now, and each year it's filled with easily guessable and generally weak passwords.

"Our hope by publishing this list each year is to convince people to take steps to protect themselves online," says Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. "It’s a real head-scratcher that with all the risks known, and with so many highly publicized hacks such as Marriott and the National Republican Congressional Committee, that people continue putting themselves at such risk year-after-year."

Slain and his crew are probably overthinking things. While I don't have any data to back this up, I suspect a large number of those weak passwords are people just trying to access a website with no intention of securing their account. It seems pretty absurd to me that anyone actually thinks 'qwerty' (No. 9) or 'abc123' (No. 15) are sufficient combinations to protect an account.

Call it password fatigue, if you will. I recently began the process of changing my own passwords for a bunch of accounts, and I'm at the point where '111111' (No. 6) is starting to seem like a good idea (it's not, of course).

"SplashData estimates almost 10 percent of people have used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on this year’s list, and nearly 3 percent of people have used the worst password, 123456. According to SplashData, the over five million leaked passwords evaluated for the 2018 list were mostly held by users in North America and Western Europe. Passwords leaked from hacks of adult websites were not included in this report," the company says.

Incidentally, President Skroob's luggage combination ('12345') ranks No. 5 on the list, same as last year.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).