You may have taken the time to protect your personal data with seemingly ‘strong’ passwords, but when cybercriminals gain access to computers out of your control, the results can be disastrous.

Passwords are supposed to keep your account secure, but we do have lots of them and they can be fairly difficult to remember if you utilise them properly. Naturally, users seek out shortcuts, choosing simple-to-remember but easy-to-crack passwords, rendering them pretty much worthless in protecting your personal information.

To demonstrate just how bad users can be at creating secure passwords, SplashData, a password management company has released a list of the 25 worst passwords used throughout 2015.

The report examined over 3.3 million passwords that were leaked online throughout 2014. Most of the data came from North America and Western Europe, the release notes.

The most commonly stolen password is “123456,” which just edges out “password” – both have topped the list since its inception in 2011.  Other  picks in the password hall of shame are “12345678,” “qwerty,” “football” and relevant for 2015, “starwars.” According to security expert Mark Burnett, the top 25 represent an eye-watering 2.2 percent of all passwords exposed on the web.

The good news is that fewer users are creating poor passwords than in 2013, perhaps due to the many well-publicised breaches at some of the world’s biggest organisations. SplashData is hoping users will now take the time to create passwords with at least eight mixed characters, preferably more, and not based on easy-to-guess dictionary words. You shouldn’t use the same password on more than one site, so if you use the same one a lot, it’s a good idea to invest in one of the many excellent password managers out there (our personal favourite is 1Password). A password manager will let you access your entire password collection with just a single passphrase, although it’ll need to be a lot tougher to crack than “123456.”

The 25 most-used passwords of 2015

1) 123456 (unchanged)

2) password (unchanged)

3) 12345678 (up 1)

4) qwerty (up 1)

5) 12345 (down 2)

6) 123456789 (unchanged)

7) football (up 3)

8) 1234 (down 1)

9) 1234567 (up 2)

10) baseball (down 2)

11) welcome (new)

12) 1234567890 (new)

13) abc123 (up 1)

14) 111111 (up 1)

15) 1qaz2wsx (new)

16) dragon (down 7)

17) master (up 2)

18) monkey (down 6)

19) letmein (down 6)

20) login (new)

21) princess (new)

22) qwertyuiop (new)

23) solo (new)

24) passw0rd (new)

25) starwars (new)

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