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Phishing attack reveals poor Hotmail passwords

By Robert McMillan
October 19, 2009 06:00 AM ET

IDG News Service - 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.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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