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Top Internet passwords can easily be hacked

Internet users around the world still tend to use easy to remember passwords that can be easily hacked, an expert said. One out of five Web users chose passwords like "abc123," "iloveyou" or even "password" that can easily be cracked.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2010 21:56 IST

Internet users around the world still tend to use easy to remember passwords that can be easily hacked, an expert said today.

According to New York Times, while '12345' was the most common password when the internet started, it is now '123456'.

One out of five Web users chose passwords like "abc123," "iloveyou" or even "password" that can easily be cracked.

"I guess it's just a genetic flaw in humans," Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer at Imperva, a company that makes software for blocking hackers, told the daily.

"We've been following the same patterns since the 1990s."

Recently, Imperva studied a list of 32 million passwords and found that nearly 1 per cent of the 32 million people had used "123456" as a password.

The second-most-popular password was "12345. "Others in the top 20 included "qwerty", "abc123" and "princess".

Further about 20 per cent of people picked from the same, relatively small pool of 5,000 passwords. This means that a hacker could break into many accounts by just trying the most common passwords, it said.

NY Times reports that because of the prevalence of fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can try thousands of guesses per minute.

"We tend to think of password guessing as a very time-consuming attack in which I take each account and try a large number of name-and-password combinations," Shulman said.

"The reality is that you can be very effective by choosing a small number of common passwords," it said.