The 25 Weakest Passwords of 2012

At first, they might seem like an unlikely bunch, but "ashley," "football," "jesus," "ninja" and "michael" all have something very important in common. They're among the weakest passwords computer users have in 2012.

"Password" and "123456" have consistently topped the list of bad passwords, and this year is no different, according to the study by Los Gatos, Calif., smartphone-app maker SplashData.

While this year's list looks similar to last year's, with old favorites like "monkey," "dragon" and "letmein" staying in the top 10, "jesus," "mustang" and "ninja" were new additions ranked at Nos. 21, 23, and 24, respectively.

SplashData compiles its annual list of the worst passwords from data stolen by hackers and posted online. If your password is on this list, brush up on what the best practices are and change it right away.

Unlike "trustno1, "qwerty" and other passwords on SplashData's list, unique passwords are the most secure because they're the hardest to guess.

A string of words that don't make sense together, such as "PumpkinGingerbreadGhost" is easy to remember, long enough to satisfy most websites' requirements and contains three capital letters. Throw a letter in there somewhere (PumpkinGing3rbreadGhost), and even the most robust password-cracking scripts will likely be shut out.

It's also a good idea to vary passwords between accounts. That way, if a criminal gets a hold of your Facebook login credentials, he won't be able to use that same information to wreak havoc on your Facebook or Twitter accounts or steal or destroy files stored on a cloud service and vice versa.

Using an easy password or one password for multiple accounts may be easy and convenient now, but the potential damage and cleanup required after a hacker rifles through your life online will make any victim wish they'd secured their accounts better.

The top 25 worst passwords, in order (and their current rankings compared with the previous year's rankings), are below.

1.  password (unchanged)

2.  123456 (unchanged)

3.  12345678 (unchanged)

4.  abc123 (up 1)

5.  qwerty (down 1)

6.  monkey (unchanged)

7.  letmein (up 1)

8.  dragon (up 2)

9.  111111 (up 3)

10. baseball (up 1)

11. iloveyou (up 2)

12. trustno1 (down 3)

13. 1234567 (down 6)

14. sunshine (up 1)

15. master (down 1)

16. 123123 (up 4)

17. welcome (new)

18. shadow (up 1)

19. ashley (down 3)

20. football (up 5)

21. jesus (new)

22. michael (up 2)

23. ninja  (new)

24. mustang (new)

25. password1 (new)

Spooky stuff.