Phishers Reveal Poor Passwords

It's terribly insecure, but the string of digits 1234567 is a popular password on Hotmail, according to security researcher Bogdan Calin, who analyzed 9,843 stolen Windows Live Hotmail passwords that were posted on a Web site.

Hotmail and several other Web e-mail providers were recently hit by phishing attacks that gleaned usernames and passwords.

In a blog post, Calin said the following were the most common passwords in the Hotmail collection: 123456, 123456789, alejandra, 111111, alberto, tequiero, alejandro and 12345678.

Calin said the phishing attack apparently targeted Latinos, given the popularity of Spanish phrases and names as passwords.

Security experts say that passwords should use a combination of letters, numbers and other characters and shouldn't include names, dates or dictionary words. But Calin found that just 6% of the stolen Hotmail passwords contained a mix of letters, numbers and other characters.

This version of this story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition. It's an edited version of an article that first ran on Computerworld.com.

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