Over 5,000 government officials used the word “password” in their password and uh oh

Oh passwords. They really are the bane of our existence.

Oh, passwords. They really are the bane of our existence. Honestly, how much of your day do you spend trying to recall a password for one of your many online accounts? Yes, you should have them all written down and organized in a file, but that would be way too much work and you don’t have time for that. But don’t worry, you aren’t alone. According to a recent security audit of the Western Australian government, 26% of its officials had super weak, guessable passwords. Even worse, in a search of 234,000 accounts in 17 government agencies over 5,000 of them included the word password. Really?

How can we expect hackers to not be hacking when 1,464 of the accounts used “Password123”? “Password1” also was used by 813 people and a very creative 184 people just used “password.” People also favored “password2” (142) and “Password01” (118). Over 175 people used that old standby of “abcd1234.” “After repeatedly raising password risks with agencies, it is unacceptable that people are still using password123 and abcd1234 to access critical agency systems and information,” Auditor General Caroline Spencer told Western Australia Today. “

The Australian government is now working to implement new security policies and help its employees with password protection. “While I am aware some agencies have already taken action to address our most recent findings, this is an area that requires ongoing vigilance and high-level oversight,” Spencer said. “Most of the issues raised can be easily addressed, however, it appears that risks are simply not properly understood and they are certainly not being effectively managed.”

Perhaps just making it impossible for them to use the word “password” as their password would be the first step.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.