iPhone passcodes are apparently only good for making your significant other suspicious about the contents of your phone. Because according to a study by an iPhone app developer, the most common passcodes are ridiculously easy to guess. iOS wizard Danial Amitay analyzed 204,508 passcodes and found that "1234" is far and away the most popular passcode, followed by "0000" and "0258" in a tight race for second. The figures closely correspond with the most popular passwords on the internet--"123456" wins that contest. The results also aren't entirely surprising given iPhone users' understandable need for speed when unlocking the phone. (Just imagine counting up all of the seconds people spend unlocking their phones. Years of life lost!)
Amitay explains the obvious downside for less creative password creators--and the upside for less creative thieves:
Formulaic passwords are never a good idea, yet 15% of all passcode sets were represented by only 10 different passcodes (out of a possible 10,000). The implication? A thief (or just a prankster) could safely try 10 different passcodes on your iPhone without initiating the data wipe. With a 15% success rate, about 1 in 7 iPhones would easily unlock--even more if the intruder knows the users’ years of birth, relationship status, etc.
In a New York Times report last year, hacking experts point out that the way-too-easy-to-guess password has always been a problem on the internet. Even when the web was just gaining mainstream pickup in the 1990s, the most popular password was "12345." Based on the analysis covered by The Times, "123456" is now the most common followed by "12345," "123456789" and "password." Said one developer for hacker-blocking software, "I guess it's just a genetic flaw in humans."
According to one Apple rumor mill, iPhone developers are aware of the problem and are testing a gesture-based lock screen for the iPhone 5. But why not just make like the Department of Homeland Security and go straight for an iris scan?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.