An analysis of password re-use from data spilled via the Sony and Gawker hack reveals that consumer password security is even more lax than we might have feared.
A million Sony users' password/username IDs and 250,000 Gawker login credentials, each stored in plain text, were exposed via separate hacks. In each case hackers posted a subset of these passwords as a torrent.
An analysis by security researcher Troy Hunt revealed that two-thirds of users with accounts at both Sony and Gawker used the same password on both sites. This conclusion is based on a relatively small sample of 88 email addresses found in common between the Sony and Gawker hacks. However, just the data gleaned by Hunt from the Sony hack alone shows this is unlikely to be some sort of statistical quirk. On the contrary, by any metric, consumer password security revealed via the Sony hack is dire.
Half the password sample from the Sony hack used only one character type and only one in a hundred passwords used a non-alphanumeric character, much the same as revealed by the earlier Gawker hack. Only 4 per cent of these passwords had three or more character types.
Continued : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/password_re_use_survey/