Recently, everyone registered on a Gawker Media site such as Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Gawker itself found themselves in possession of a compromised identity. Hackers were able to take Gawker’s database of username/password combinations and break into accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular sites where users had registered with the same name and password. Users who didn’t change their passwords fast enough found themselves unwitting spokespersons for Free Weightloss Using Acai Berries Act Now!, and may or may not have transferred the contents of their bank accounts into the hands of a grateful Nigerian prince.
The world is full of people relying on easy-to-memorize passwords that they can use every time they feel the urge to look at terrible (but free!) pornography or comment on photos of adorable kittens, and the security breach revealed just how unimaginative we, as a planet of password-choosers, really are.
Analysis of Gawker’s list of most-used passwords reveals our collective lack of concern with security. If you use any of these passwords, replace it immediately with one of the suggestions on the right. Those hackers will never see this, so don’t worry!
Eden M. Kennedy writes at Fussy, and is co-author (with Alice Bradley) of Let's Panic About Babies!, arriving March 1 at a bookstore near you.
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