This page is very old and isn’t being kept up to date, but people still like this list for some reason. Visit my “password assignment” for more recent insights.
One way to help people appreciate password selection is to reflect on the passwords chosen by others. The following table presents some notable password choices that appear on the historical record.
|User’s Name||Password||The Story|
|Joe, for example||Joe, for example||We use the term “Joe accounts” to refer to accounts where the password matches the user name. Studies of user password selection performed in the early 1990s found that about 3% of the accounts examined were “Joe accounts.”|
|“President Skroob”||12345||This was the secret code used by President Skroob on his luggage in Spaceballs. The same secret code was used to unlock King Roland’s planetary air shield.|
|(various)||123456||When hackers have uncovered passwords from public web sites, this often turns out to be the most popular password. So President Skroob wasn’t such an idiot after all, compared to a lot of computer users.|
|(various)||password||This is another popular password with Internet users. It was also popular at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as reported by a government official who had been assessing computer security there, following reports of security irregularities with computer files by researcher Wen Ho Lee.|
|guest||parc, maxc||This was the “guest” account on the MAXC computer at the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Users on the ARPA Network could use this account to log on to the computer at PARC. They periodically changed the password between PARC and MAXC.|
|President Clinton||Buddy||This is the “secret” password used to protect the private key assigned to the President for producing a digital signature when signing the “E-SIGN” electronic commerce bill. The President evidently shared the password with the dignitaries and reporters who were attending the bill’s signing. The password was his dog’s name.|
|www.whitehouse.gov||the0toky||An example of a reasonably good password used in a critical application. This was the first password used for the “root” administrator on the firewall protecting the first public White House Internet connection. The administrator, Marcus Ranum, obscured things further by renaming “root” to be “mjr.”|
|“Little Nicky” Scarfo||nds09813-050||The password used to protect PGP-encrypted secret information that was alleged to describe criminal enterprises that Scarfo was involved in. The password is his father’s prison ID number. The FBI recovered this password by planting software on his computer that recorded his keystrokes when he typed in the password.|
|“Steven Falken”||JOSHUA||The password used by actor Matthew Broderick in the 1983 film WarGames to gain access to NORAD. Of course, this isn’t a password chosen by a real person, it was chosen by a Hollywood scriptwriter. But it doessound plausible, doesn’t it?|