These days there are so many sites and accounts you need to log into that it is hard to think of new, unique passwords. So often, when it comes down to creating a new password people either use the same password over and over again or create easy to remember passwords (or both).
According to password management application maker SplashID, some of the most commonly used passwords for 2011 are "password," "123456," "12345678," "qwerty," "abc123" and "monkey."
Many of these passwords keep re-appearing in the list of common passwords year after year, signaling that people either can't be bothered to change their passwords or don't understand the importance of keeping their online identities safe.
"If you're one of those people who thought it was clever to use "password" as your password, it's time to wisen up and make a change. Switching the "o" to a zero to make it 'passw0rd'? Not much better," advised SplashID.
By using simple numerical passwords or short common words as your password, you're making it easy for computers or cybercriminals to break into your accounts.
"Hackers can easily break into many accounts just by repeatedly trying common passwords," warned SplashID CEO Morgan Slain. "Even though people are encouraged to select secure, strong passwords, many people continue to choose weak, easy-to-guess ones, placing themselves at risk from fraud and identity theft."
Slain added, "[w]hat you don't want is a password that is easily guessable. If you have a password that is short or common or a word in the dictionary, it's like leaving your door open for identity thieves."
Microsoft advises that the keys to creating strong passwords are "length and complexity" on its Safety and Security Center website. Lifehacker suggests using multi-word phrases with spaces -- which are much easier to remember -- to make your passwords more secure (rather than using a more risky six-character-only password).
Want to know how long it would take a desktop computer to crack your password? Test it with http://howsecureismypassword.net/.
SplashID identified the most commonly used passwords list for 2011 by trawling through files "containing millions of stolen passwords" that were posted online by hackers.
The top 25 most commonly used passwords for 2011 according to SplashID: