Despite the deforestation of 48 football fields’ worth of trees every minute, the 764,762,571 war deaths in all recorded history, and the recent election of a bloated Wotsit with eyes as leader of the free world, human beings have – and have always had – the audacity to consider themselves intelligent.
The recent release of the most common passwords of 2016 (by security firm Keeper) will finally put this myth to an end. Human beings are now officially dumb, so very dumb. How dumb? Dumb enough that the most common password in the world, FOR THE FIFTH YEAR RUNNING, is “123456”.
As my colleague Jonn was kind enough to point out, you could at least mix things up with a “123457”.
Keeper analysed 10 million passwords that were leaked through multiple data breaches that occurred in 2016 to come up with a list of the 25 most common. Nearly 17 per cent of people, according to their data, use 123456, while 123456789 came in second place.
In third place was our boy qwerty, with fourth and fifth being taken by 12345678, and 111111.
The first real surprise (apart from the fact that we’ve now got smart enough for the password password to drop to eighth place) is that the twelfth most popular password of 2016 was mynoob.
Some of the passwords on the list actually seem quite complicated, at first, with 1q2w3e4r taking 17th place. Keeper calls this a “sequential key variation” – meaning users have dropped alternately from the first and second line of their keyboard to choose their password. Despite being seemingly complex, a cursory glance at your keyboard will reveal that this is very easy to crack.
Other unusual options on the list – including 18atcskd2w – are explained by security expert Graham Cluley as passwords used over and over by spam bots, which set up multiple accounts in order to send spam and other attacks.
In order to stay secure online it is imperative that you change your password if it appears on this list. Password manager services will allow you to set up multiple, random passwords and keep their details safe and secure, and you can also set up two-factor authentication on many online services, which means, most often, that you can get a log-in code sent to your phone to use alongside your password. For more information, see this guide on password managers for beginners.
See the full list of the most common passwords of 2016 below.