Stolen Passwords: What do they say about professionalism?

It’s old news by now that nearly 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords were likely stolen last week. The hacker posted the passwords online, unattached to usernames (how kind!), to boast this feat. Security firm Rapid7 released the following as part of an infographic summarizing the hack:

This made me think: Would a potential employer’s opinion of a candidate be reshaped or influenced if they knew the person’s password?

Definitely yes is the answer. People take any tidbit they learn about others and file it away. The fourth most popular hacked password, god, for instance, might resonate well on a basic level with certain religious folks and negatively with atheists. The capitalization might rub some the wrong way, as might the sheer simplicity stupidity of such an easily-cracked password. Some might be neutral, as they, too, might have easy passwords to everything. Regardless, some assumptions about you (surface level or character-deep), and consequently your abilities as an employee, are certainly made.

From this list, I wouldn’t want someone working for me whose password I knew to be killer or 12345. I suppose these people are all around, and a bit of ignorance is fine; what people do on the back end of their individual profiles on internet systems is of no direct concern to me. But, should you choose one of these really weak passwords and get hacked, let’s just hope your employer or hopeful future company doesn’t find out.

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