NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumers should be relying on passwords to protect their personal data on computers, smartphones and tablet computers.
But you can't blame the technology if those password are so obvious that any identity thief can get access.
About 10% of all identity theft cases are related directly to password problems, reports Javelin Research. With 12.6 million victims of I.D. theft, and $21 billion in lost assets last year, not taking care of your password can lead to huge financial losses for consumers.
Unfortunately, some passwords might as well come with a green light attached; the worst of the bunch are so obvious they do little to stop aggressive identity thieves.
The Los Gatos, Calif., security firm SplashDataoffered a list this week of the 25 most common -- and generally useless -- passwords used on the Internet.
There's been a change at the top of that list compared with last year, with the not-so-subtle term "password" being dethroned in favor of "123456." That may be due to last October's security breach at Adobe, which affected about 48 million users. The password "123456" was the most-used password by Adobe users.
Adobe took a public relations hit with two other passwords ("adobe123" and "photoshop") as well, even though it's consumers who pick their entry codes.
"Seeing passwords like 'adobe123' and 'photoshop' on this list offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the website or application you are accessing," says Morgan Slain, chief executive at SplashData.
Other commonly used passwords that could lead to a security breach include "abc123," "qwerty" and "iloveyou."
Also making the top 10: "111111" and "1234567." And the term "trustno1" appeared as the 24th entry in SplashData's list.
The security firm has some common-sense tips for consumers looking for better passwords:
- Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters, but not in word and number patterns that lead you to forget the password or transcribe it incorrectly.
- Use "passphrases," meaning shorter words with spaces or hyphens that separate them. (Example: "smiles light skip")
- Don't use the same password or word combination on multiple sites.
- If you have a tough time managing your passwords, try using a password organization app such as SplashID Safe or LastPass.
Getting help with a task so mundane as password management may seem like a reach, but with the stakes so high, you can't afford to take your passwords for granted. I.D. thieves are counting on you doing just that.