2018’s Password Fails

2018’s Password Fails

Throughout 2018 I kept a note of all the passwords encountered across 103 onsite penetration tests I was engaged on or peer-reviewed.  From all the passwords, two were extremely memorable.


Throughout 2018 I kept a note of all the passwords encountered across 103 onsite penetration tests I was engaged on or peer-reviewed.  From all the passwords, two were extremely memorable:

4minP4ssword! was without a doubt the best worst password encountered for the Administrator user of a windows domain. It is quite surpirsing that this particular password has made a return yet again.

P4ssw0rd! is probably the MOST common password used for initial passwords, with Letmein coming a close second. Yet I encountered the password repeatedly throughout a number of engagements during 2017.

Interestingly, from the pool of passwords gained from the engagements throughout 2018, 11 new passwords were added to my password list out of more than 1,197,000 passwords cracked.

Making a better passwords

The National Cyber Security Centre’s advice to use three random words as a passphrase makes great sense, separating the words with special characters helps make a long, hard to break a memorable password. But, while I do not agree with the NCSC’s stance on not needing to change the password, I do believe that you would only need to change the password every six months or so.

Top 25 List

The following list is the top 25 lines from my active password list that provide me with the most success on engagements:

1 – Abc123456!

2 – password

3 – P4ssw0rd!

4 – 12345678

5 – Qwerty!

6 – A123456789!

7 – Letmein1!

8 – letmein

9 – 1234567

10 – football

11 – iloveyou

12 – admin

13 – welcome

14 – starwars

15 – 123123123

16 – January2017!

17 – Sept17!!

18 – qazwsx

19 – trustno1

20 – MyPassword1!

21 – LiverpoolFC4thewin!

22 – 1HeartYou!

23 – FuckOff!2017

24 – GoAway!1

25 – Stupid11

Check out some of our other blog articles to find out how you can set up a super secure password.

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Author Details
Founder & CEO at Hedgehog Security

Peter has been in the Information Security world since 1999 and in IT in general since 1996. His work history contains a unique blended balance between the development of exceptional technical capabilities and business knowledge. Peter is a proud father of twins and enjoys GT endurance racing on the weekends.

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