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RIM is prepared to help protect its customers' BlackBerry 10 smartphones by blacklisting certain passwords. The idea is to coax people into selecting more secure passwords by denying them the ability to use the idiotic and insecure passwords they might prefer to pick.
The eagle-eyed folks over at RapidBerry spotted the security feature deep within the recesses of BlackBerry 10. For the moment, the list has 106 unusable words on it. It is possible that RIM will add to this list over time.
RIM has not yet announced this as a feature of BlackBerry 10, but it should be. It's a good idea, one that's time is overdue. Every month, it seems, there's a new massive security breach somewhere thanks to weak passwords. People are reminded time and again to use secure passwords that contain a mix of letters and numbers, but many don't get the message.
[ BlackBerry 10: good enough for government work. See RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance. ]
RIM, an expert at helping deliver messages, is sending one of its own.
The list contains some of the most obvious suspects, such as password, 123456, 123abc, abc123, secret, freedom and blackberry. There are some interesting choices in the list that may not be all that common, but apparently make the cut in RIM's mind as verboten.
My favorites include batman, gandalf, merlin, wizard and zapata. There is an entire contingent of Winnie the Pooh and other Disney names on the list, including eeyore, poohbear, piglet, tigger, mickey and donald. (Is there something about Winnie the Pooh that I'm missing, or are there that many of you working from home and looking at your kids' toys in the living room?)
There are also a ton of regular names on the list, including amanda, angel, andrew, barney, brandy, calvin (but not Hobbes), chelsea, dorothy, george, jennifer, jonathan, maggie, matthew, michael, michelle, pamela, patrick, rachel, steven, thomas and victoria.
Businesses should be sure that their employees are using passwords to lock their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops), and also ensure that those passwords are secure. A good policy is to force employees to change their password every 30 or 60 days. For those IT admins in the audience, take a look at the full list to see about blacklisting some in your own system.
RIM will debut BlackBerry 10 on January 30, with new BlackBerry smartphones to follow by late February or early March.