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A word cloud depicting the 500 most common passwords weighted to represent their frequency.
A word cloud depicting the 500 most common passwords weighted to represent their frequency.
Credit: Mark Burnett xato.net

Nearly one in 20 passwords is password. More than 90 percent of all passwords appear on a list of the top 1,000 choices. When that list is extended to include the 10,000 most common passwords, the list represents 99.8 percent of all user passwords.

In short, people aren't very original when it comes to safeguarding their private information.

The data comes from password expert Mark Burnett, an IT consultant and author of the book "Perfect Passwords" (Syngress, 2005). Burnett generated his lists last year by amassing data from numerous password banks and databases.

The word cloud above depicts the top 500 passwords, with greater font size indicating more frequent use. According to Burnett, these 500 words represent 79 percent of all passwords that are chosen.

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