The 25 worst passwords of 2012

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The odds are, you are not being clever with your password.
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The odds are, you are not being clever with your password.

Leading the way are "password" and "123456," but "ninja" and "jesus" are gaining ground

You probably don't think about your passwords much — and that's not a good thing. After all, it's the key that unlocks your email, your online bank account, your Facebook, your photo albums, and loads more. It may behoove you to examine your passwords and make sure they aren't on the latest list of the 25 worst passwords by business software firm SplashData, which is compiled once a year. The top three most common offenders — "password," "123456," and "12345678" — are unchanged from previous years, but there are a few dubious newcomers, including catchy terms like "ninja," "welcome," and "jesus."

To keep intruders out of your online life — so you don't become a victim like tech blogger Mat Honan — your best bet is to choose a password that's "longer than eight characters and includes letters, numbers, and characters," says Kim Zetter at Wired. An easy way to do this is to use a memorable phrase and intersperse it with characters: "TheQuickBrownFox" for example could be "The&Quick&Brown&Fox2," which is unquestionably stronger. 

Here's this year's list of offenders, complete with ranking changes from last year: 

1. password (Unchanged)

SEE MORE: Could hackers use pacemakers to commit mass murder?

2. 123456 (Unchanged)

3. 12345678 (Unchanged)

4. abc123 (Up 1)

5. qwerty (Down 1)

6. monkey (Unchanged)

7. letmein (Up 1)

8. dragon (Up 2)

9. 111111 (Up 3)

10. baseball (Up 1)

11. iloveyou (Up 2)

12. trustno1 (Down 3)

13. 1234567 (Down 6)

14. sunshine (Up 1)

15. master (Down 1)

16. 123123 (Up 4)

17. welcome (New)

18. shadow (Up 1)

19. ashley (Down 3)

20. football (Up 5)

21. jesus (New)

22. michael (Up 2)

23. ninja (New)

24. mustang (New)

25. password1 (New)

Sources: Gizmodo, Mashable, Wired

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