The year's worst computer passwords: "Donald" joins the list

By Aimee Picchi

/ MoneyWatch

Chinese hackers reportedly linked to Marriott data breach

One of the basics of computer security is to pick passwords that are tough for hackers to break, yet computer users continue to rely on easily guessed terms like "123456." One notable entrant joins this year's list of the worst offenders: "Donald."

The analysis of 5 million leaked passwords on the Internet from SplashData finds that computer users are still relying on unimaginative passwords that could allow a hacker to gain entry to their accounts. The most frequently used passwords that carry big security risks are "123456" and "password," which hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.

What might be most disturbing is that these two "bad" passwords have retained the top spots for a fifth consecutive year in SplashData's annual analysis. That demonstrates many consumers aren't heeding warnings from security experts about beefing up their personal security, even as hacks become more widespread, such as last month's massive Marriott reservation system breach.

New on the list this year was "Donald," most likely a tribute to President Donald Trump. Consumers often borrow from famous people for their passwords, opening them up to fraud since hackers are well aware of this human foible.

"Sorry, Mr. President, but this is not fake news – using your name or any common name as a password is a dangerous decision," said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, in a statement. "Hackers have great success using celebrity names, terms from pop culture and sports, and simple keyboard patterns to break into accounts online because they know so many people are using those easy-to-remember combinations."

The company said it releases its analysis of the "worst" passwords to spur consumers to change their passwords and beef up their security.

"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 said.

The worst 25 passwords

Including their change in rank from the previous year:

  1. 123456 — Unchanged
  2. password — Unchanged
  3. 123456789 — Up 3
  4. 12345678 — Down 1
  5. 12345 — Unchanged
  6. 111111 — New
  7. 1234567 — Up 1
  8. sunshine — New
  9. qwerty — Down 5
  10. iloveyou — Unchanged
  11. princess — New
  12. admin — Down 1
  13. welcome — Down 1
  14. 666666 — New
  15. abc123 — Unchanged
  16. football — Down 7
  17. 123123 — Unchanged
  18. monkey — Down 5
  19. 654321 — New
  20. [email protected]#$%^&* — New
  21. charlie — New
  22. aa123456 — New
  23. donald — New
  24. password1 — New
  25. qwerty123 — New

First published on December 14, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Former co-stars defend Michael Weatherly amid harassment accusation

Pauley Perrette and Sasha Alexander both posted supportive messages for Weatherly on Twitter

updated 1M ago

Share buybacks hit record $1 trillion in 2018

U.S. companies collectively spent more on buying back their own stock this year than 166 countries produce in GDP

updated 8M ago

Michael Flynn business associates charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey

The indictment of two former associates of Michael Flynn were part of a federal investigation into illegal Turkish lobbying.

updated 19M ago

Johnson & Johnson: Our Baby Powder is safe

Company takes out ads blasting as misleading a news report alleging it hid knowledge of asbestos in talc for decades

updated 25M ago

Pilot recounts jet crash, water rescue by parasailer

A pilot whose fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the Hawaii coast last week is recounting the ordeal

updated 35M ago

Michael Flynn business associates charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey

The indictment of two former associates of Michael Flynn were part of a federal investigation into illegal Turkish lobbying.

updated 19M ago

Is Joe Biden Democrats' best bet?

Early polling in Iowa doesn't always mean winning the caucuses, or making it all the way to the White House

1H ago

Comey to testify again before House Judiciary Committee

The former FBI director, fired by President Trump in 2017, makes his second appearance this month to a closed-door session on Capitol Hill

2H ago

New reports detail sophistication of Russian influence efforts in U.S.

Two new analyses this week portray a sprawling, multifaceted operation affecting millions of users in the U.S. and persisting long after the 2016 presidential election

1H ago

Trump vows to review case against Army "hero" charged with murder

President's vow raises questions about the possibility he could jeopardize the ongoing military legal proceedings

5H ago

3rd round of U.S.-Taliban talks start without Afghan government reps.

Change of venue for ongoing efforts to negotiate a roadmap for peace in Afghanistan, without any Afghan government negotiators

2H ago

Yemen's rebels pin hopes for peace on the U.S. government

With ceasefire about to take effect, Houthi foreign minister tells CBS News relief for millions is coming, and with U.S. help, peace can flourish

updated 58M ago

Unearthed tomb called the most "significant discovery in decades"

The walls are covered in carvings depicting some of their favorite activities: hunting, musical performances and even sailing

3H ago

Help will come too late for many starving Yemeni kids

As ceasefire brings some hope, parents in rebel territory feed their kids — the ones strong enough to eat anything — boiled leaves

2H ago

Malaysia accuses Goldman Sachs of involvement in 1MDB scandal

Investment bank faces criminal charges over alleged multibillion-dollar theft from sovereign wealth fund

5H ago

Former co-stars defend Michael Weatherly amid harassment accusation

Pauley Perrette and Sasha Alexander both posted supportive messages for Weatherly on Twitter

updated 1M ago

Cardi B defends Offset after fans bash him

It seems that Offset's stunt on Saturday might have been pre-approved by Cardi B's team

1H ago

The "Hamilton" team on crafting a revolutionary musical

Director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, writer-lyricist-actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and music director Alex Lacamoire talk about their historic collaboration

2H ago

Miss Universe 2018: Catriona Gray of the Philippines wins crown

The 24-year-old Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela

13H ago

Emily Blunt on "Mary Poppins Returns"

The Golden Globe-nominated star of the new Disney musical talks about taking on the role of P.L. Travers' "practically perfect" nanny made famous by Julie Andrews

Dec 16

New reports detail sophistication of Russian influence efforts in U.S.

Two new analyses this week portray a sprawling, multifaceted operation affecting millions of users in the U.S. and persisting long after the 2016 presidential election

1H ago

Google to spend $1B on major New York City expansion

The 1.7 million square-foot campus will help the tech giant double its New York City staff within a decade

5H ago

First of new fleet of GPS satellites set for launch

New generation is designed to be more secure and accurate but many new features won't be available until 2022 or later

6H ago

Colin Kroll, HQ Trivia and Vine co-founder, dies at 34

Colin Kroll, the CEO and co-founder of the popular HQ Trivia app, has died, the company said Sunday

20H ago

Almanac: The first vending machine

On December 16, 1884, William Henry Fruen patented his "Automatic Liquid-Drawing Device," leading the way to coin-operated devices dispensing a myriad of products

Dec 16

Johnson & Johnson: Our Baby Powder is safe

Company takes out ads blasting as misleading a news report alleging it hid knowledge of asbestos in talc for decades

updated 25M ago

Health care stock sink after ACA ruling

After a Texas judge ruled the health care law unconstitutional, insurers and hospital operators led stock markets lower

3H ago

"That overdose saved my life": Why opioid deaths plunged in one Ohio county

In the midst of what's considered the nation's worst public health crisis so far in the 21st century, Hamilton County is dramatically reducing the number of deaths

3H ago

How to combat loneliness during the holidays

Experts say loneliness – which is not the same as being alone – is at epidemic levels nationwide, and a greater public health concern than obesity and smoking combined

3H ago

Vaping booming in U.S. high schools, survey finds

Doubled use of e-cigarettes this year was biggest one-year rise in survey's 44-year history, far beyond a mid-1970s surge in pot smoking

6H ago

Share buybacks hit record $1 trillion in 2018

U.S. companies collectively spent more on buying back their own stock this year than 166 countries produce in GDP

updated 8M ago

Johnson & Johnson: Our Baby Powder is safe

Company takes out ads blasting as misleading a news report alleging it hid knowledge of asbestos in talc for decades

updated 25M ago

These banks offer savers rates higher than 2%

While traditional banks tend to pay less than 1% on savings accounts and CDs, these places are offering more than 2%

2H ago

Health care stock sink after ACA ruling

After a Texas judge ruled the health care law unconstitutional, insurers and hospital operators led stock markets lower

3H ago

Prosecco, now the No. 1 bubbly, aims to keep the party going

The Italian sparkling wine's makers have France's Champagne on its heels, and they plan to build on those gains

4H ago

Mother in viral video where NYPD take toddler speaks out

"I was so afraid. I was combative with my thoughts … I just remember being talked to very viciously," Jazmine Headley said Sunday

14H ago

Patient hijacks ambulance in Southern California

Incident started in Lake Elsinore and headed north on Interstate 15 until it finally came to an end in Hesperia

14H ago

French city mourns as 5th victim dies after Christmas market attack

More than 1,000 people reportedly attended the memorial Sunday, days after fatal shooting in Strasbourg

12H ago

Ex-officers charged after video showed them slamming teen

Both officers resigned in November after video from Brusly Middle School showed the officers slamming the student

16H ago

FindJodi: The decades-long search for a missing TV news anchor

More than two decades after an Iowa TV anchor disappeared, "48 Hours" reports on new information and new efforts to find Jodi Huisentruit

Dec 16