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The Force is not with Star Wars passwords

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In anticipation of this past weekend’s premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many fans have clearly decided to express their excitement by making “starwars” one of their passwords.

It is one of the newest entries on 2017’s Worst Passwords of the Year, as determined by SplashData on its annual report. Use of any of the passwords on this list would put users at grave risk for identity theft.

In its seventh annual Worst Passwords report, compiled from more than five million passwords leaked during the year, “starwars” joins the list at #16.

“Unfortunately, while the newest episode may be a fantastic addition to the Star Wars franchise, ‘starwars’ is a dangerous password to use,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData, Inc.  “Hackers are using common terms from pop culture and sports to break into accounts online because they know many people are using those easy-to-remember words.”

These past two years have been particularly devastating for data security, with a number of well publicized hacks, attacks, ransoms, and even extortion attempts. Millions of records have been stolen.

Even with the risks well known, many millions of people continue to use weak, easily-guessable passwords to protect their online information. For the fourth consecutive year, “123456” and “password” retain their top two spots on the list. Variations of each, either with extra digits on the numerical string or replacing the “o” with a “0” in “password,” comprise six of the remaining passwords on the list.

“Hackers know your tricks, and merely tweaking an easily guessable password does not make it secure,” says Slain. “Our hope is that our Worst Passwords of the Year list will cause people to take steps to protect themselves online.”

While some say baseball is America’s pastime, it is football that continues to dominate on the list of dangerous passwords. For the second year in a row, football is the only sport to crack the Top 25 — though it dropped four spots on this year’s list to the #9 spot.

For the romantics out there, the self-focused “loveme” has been replaced on this year’s list with “iloveyou.” Other new appearances on the list include “letmein”, “monkey”, “hello”, “freedom”, “whatever” and “trustno1.” One other new entry is “qazwsx” from the two left columns on standard keyboards – demonstrating the importance of avoiding simple patterns.

SplashData, provider of password management applications TeamsID, Gpass, and SplashID, releases its annual list in an effort to encourage the adoption of stronger passwords. According to SplashData, the over five million leaked passwords evaluated for the 2017 list were mostly held by users in North America and Western Europe.  Passwords leaked from hacks of adult websites and from the Yahoo email breach were not included in this report.

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Presenting SplashData’s “Worst Passwords of 2017”:

Rank  Password  Change from 2015 
123456 Unchanged
Password Unchanged
12345678 Up 1
qwerty Up 2
12345 Down 2
123456789 New
letmein New
1234567 Unchanged
football Down 4
10  iloveyou New
11  admin Up 4
12  welcome Unchanged
13  monkey New
14  login Down 3
15  abc123 Down 1
16  starwars New
17  123123 New
18  dragon Up 1
19  passw0rd Down 1
20  master Up 1
21  hello New
22  freedom New
23  whatever New
24  qazwsx New
25  trustno1 New

 

SplashData estimates almost 10% of people have used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on this year’s list, and nearly 3% of people have used the worst password, 123456.

SplashData offers three simple tips to be safer from hackers online:

  1. Use passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters including upper and lower cases.
  2. Use a different password for each of your website logins.  If a hacker gets your
    password they will try it to access other sites.
  3. Protect your assets and personal identity by using a password manager to organize passwords, generate secure random passwords, and automatically log into websites.

To help protect computer users from hackers and to do its part in preventing 2018 from becoming another “Year of the Hack,” SplashData is offering the full list of Top 100 Worst Passwords, a free one-year subscription for individuals to its Gpass password manager, and a TeamsID (password manager for enterprise workgroups) demo for businesses. Each of these free resources may be found at TeamsID.com.

 

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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