One of the biggest laughs in the Mel Brooks sci-fi comedy “Spaceballs” was when the ‘secret’ password to lower the planet’s defenses was revealed to be “12345.”
Why did this seem funny? Because it was such a crucial system that used such an easy and ridiculously guessable string of numbers, the same sort of weak code that someone would use on their luggage, another joke that was alluded to for even more yuks.
Today, computer security experts likely won’t find this scene all that funny, since modern passwords can sometimes be just as ridiculous, or at least the people who choose them on a regular basis.
For instance, security companies regularly publish lists of the most popular passwords, which also seem to perfectly correlate with the most popular passwords to steal. This list usually includes timeless staples like “12345” or “123456,” plus easy keyboard combos like “qwerty” or “asdfg.” In some cases people may just put in “password” or “password1” if they’re required to put in letters and numbers.
While many say having one password that’s this simple is handy and keeps you from having to keep track of multiple log-ins for multiple accounts, it’s actually opening the door to all sorts of trouble. Worse, it may not be only you that’s at risk for this type of weak security: if a hacker or phisher gets your account info by cracking your weak password, they might be able to access other accounts or even your work’s network.
Companies looking to get serious about password protection or overall system integrity don’t have to install the most advanced methods either: there are some easier solutions.
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