Matilda Internet owner Leon Cuzzilla shows an example of the spam computer users could expect from people trying to access passwords.
Matilda Internet owner Leon Cuzzilla shows an example of the spam computer users could expect from people trying to access passwords. Peter Holt

Is your password one of the worst?

I LOVE you monkey so let me in and let's have a 123456.

And therein lies four of the 25 worst passwords of 2011 and each is putting computer users at risk of identity thieves and a barrage of spam.

SplashData, a developer of productivity and security applications, compiled the list from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers. If you're using one then it's time to come up with a more creative password.

The passwords were: Password, 123456, 12345678, qwerty, abc123, monkey, 1234567, letmein, trustno1, dragon, baseball, 111111, iloveyou, master, sunshine, ashley, bailey, passw0rd, shadow, 123123, 654321, superman, qazwsx, michael and football.

Matilda Internet owner Leon Cuzzilla said the most common passwords he came across were Bundy and password.

Mr Cuzzilla said computer users were generally not too creative when it came to creating passwords, with other common combinations including names, dates of birth and usernames with numbers tacked onto the end.

Duplication of expired passwords was also common, he said. For example, a user with the password dog making their new password dogdog.

So is one word fine for a password or should it be a lot trickier?

"A word is fine as long as they mix it up with lower and uppercase," Mr Cuzzilla said. "A number or a character is good to have. A character is better because that's something people wouldn't think of."

Longer passwords are also a good idea as they are harder for others to figure out. One of the biggest problems though is people tend to use the same passwords for a variety of internet sites and applications because they find it too confusing to remember all different ones.

"It is absolutely confusing for people," Mr Cuzzilla said. "If people have a problem we ask them what their username and password is. About 80% of them wouldn't know what their passwords were."

He said the best idea was to invest in software that allowed the safe storage of passwords.

While bad passwords were an issue, there was a much bigger problem compromising computer users.

He said many users received emails from people posing as internet provider companies, which told them they were over their quota and needed to log on to change their passwords.

"(Then) they just get spammed," he said.

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