Friday Poll: How careful are you about passwords?

We're constantly reminded of the need for strong passwords, but not everybody is listening. How good (or not so good) is your own password behavior these days?

password screen
Photo illustration by James Martin/CNET

It seems like everybody knows better about passwords, but not everybody behaves better. SplashData's list of the worst passwords of 2013 has given the easy-to-crack "123456" the crown as the most common bad password of last year. It took out rival (and equally bad) "password" to claim the throne.

The fact that this list exists is thanks to all those people who still use simple, hackable passwords despite repeated warnings to shape up and get complicated with those valuable strings of letters and numerals. It's not just a few people using passwords like "123456," it's millions. The list was compiled using data dumps of stolen passwords that have been posted online.

It's time to fess up about your password patterns. You may be a security-minded type with unique, tricky passwords that you change often. You may throw your hands in the air and just not care. Perhaps you think "password123456" will do the trick.

Vote in our poll and talk it out in the comments. If your passwords are brilliantly complex ciphers, how do you remember them? Do you maintain a hierarchy of passwords ranging from simple to more complex depending on what's being protected? You may even be so bold as to admit to being one of those "123456" people. Let's hear it.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.


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