Here are hackers' 10 favourite passwords

Heisenberg network reveals stolen credentials most commonly used by cyber criminals

Hackers' most popular passwords to use as they try to break into IT systems have been laid bare by security firm Rapid 7.

'X' tops the list of the 10 most common passwords cyber criminals try out, and is followed by Zz, St@rt123, 1, P@ssw0rd, bl4ck4ndwhite, admin, ....... , and administrator.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This is according to Rapid 7's latest paper, The Attacker's Dictionary, which the firm unveiled at RSA Conference 2016.

It focused particularly on credentials attacks on internet-connected point of sale (POS) systems, kiosks, and scamware-compromised PCs that offer Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) for remote management.

POS units in particular were targeted by lots of cyber criminals, because they can be very lucrative if breached, as several high profile cases, like the Target hack, have shown.

Todd Beardsley, senior security research manager at Rapid 7, told IT Pro: "We were expecting to see a flow of 'normally bad' passwords, such as default admin passwords, because that happens all the time - we see it in home routers and SSH and all the other normal control panels.

"The thing that was really surprising, though, is how stupendously bad these passwords are. Normally you have your list of the top ten, which starts with 'password' and this year probably ends with 'starwars'. These passwords are much worse than that."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Usernames were similarly insecure, with the top ten being: administrator, Administrator, user1, admin, alex, pos, demo, db2admin, Admin, and sql.

Cyber criminals try these usernames and passwords because they are a combination of default passwords not being changed (db2admin: d-b2admin is the default for a number of IBM databases, for example), and ones made to be easy to remember, rather than secure, Rapid 7 believes.

Additionally, some businesses, especially retail, may not be able to change their POS systems' credentials from the default to something more secure because these systems are often installed and managed by a third-party.

"These companies will often have a good IT admin team in the back, but then you have this sort of shadow POS IT hanging off it that is not getting administered particularly well," said Beardsley.

The data the report is based on was collected by Heisenberg, the company's network of low-interaction honeypots - sites that reside on an IP address only, with no registered URL or domain name - that emulate the authentication handshakes of several protocols to passively monitor the internet for waves of credentials-based attacks.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Given there is no legitimate reason for anyone or anything to attempt to connect to the Heisenberg nodes, as they do not offer any services, Rapid 7 assumed this traffic was malicious.

Beardsley said: "We were curious how often opportunistic attacks out on the internet happen and using what protocols - is it mostly HTTP? Is it mostly SSL? - we didn't really know.

"Combining Heisenberg with Operation Sonar, which is sort of the opposite in that it pings the whole internet on a variety of services, I think we can put together a pretty decent picture of what that background radiation is of online crime and fraud."

The Attacker's Dictionary can be downloaded and read in full here.

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/encryption/355820/k2view-innovates-in-data-management-with-new-encryption-patent
encryption

K2View innovates in data management with new encryption patent

28 May 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355410/zoom-50-adds-256-bit-encryption-and-ui-refresh
video conferencing

Zoom 5.0 adds 256-bit encryption to address security concerns

23 Apr 2020
Visit/security/hacking/355382/whatsapps-flaw-shoulder-surfing
hacking

WhatsApp flaw leaves users open to 'shoulder surfing' attacks

21 Apr 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/355368/microsoft-builds-ai-to-detect-security-flaws-with-99-accuracy
cyber security

Microsoft AI can detect security flaws with 99% accuracy

20 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/355812/microsoft-warns-against-installing-windows-10-may-2020
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft warns users not to install Windows 10's May update

28 May 2020
Visit/security/data-breaches/355777/easyjet-faces-class-action-lawsuit-over-data-breach
data breaches

EasyJet faces class-action lawsuit over data breach

26 May 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/355797/microsoft-bans-trend-micros-rootkit-buster-from-windows-10
cyber security

Microsoft bans Trend Micro driver from Windows 10 for "cheating" hardware tests

27 May 2020