Tech Talk #94 – Jan 5, 2019


Top passwords of 2018

A company called SplashData analyzed more than 5 million accounts/passwords that have leaked online and compiled a list of the most-used passwords for 2018. For the fifth year in a row, “123456” and “password” retain the number one and two spots on the list. Here’s the complete top 15 passwords and the change from last year’s list.:


01. 123456 (Unchanged)
02. password (Unchanged)
03. 123456789 (Up 3)
04. 12345678 (Down 1)
05. 12345 (Unchanged)
06. 111111 (New)
07. 1234567 (Up 1)
08. sunshine (New)
09. qwerty (Down 5)
10. iloveyou (Unchanged)
11. princess (New)
12. admin (Down 1)
13. welcome (Down 1)
14. 666666 (New)
15. abc123 (Unchanged)


These, the top fifteen stolen passwords in 2018, are not very inventive, are they? Remember, these are passwords that criminals “know” and can try on other accounts and websites to see if they work.


I personally find the inclusion of 666666 a bit ominous, but I see the optimism of princess and sunshine.


In 2011, Randall Munroe (creator of the fabulously nerdy xkcd web comic) summed up the problems with passwords as “Through 20 years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess.” Here is a link to the xkcd panel about password strength:


If we use Randall Munroe’s example of using four random words like “correct horse battery staple,” ironically that’s probably not going to be secure enough for most websites. Try using a special character and the name of the site you’re creating the password for and ending in the year, like correcthorsebatterystaple@Amazon19. This way you can use a different password for each site, but it’s still easy to remember.


Just don’t use correcthorsebatterystaple, OK?


Changing Alexa’s wake word

If you have any sort of Amazon Echo device, you know you need to say “Alexa” to wake the thing up to do your bidding. But maybe you’re tired of shouting “Alexa” to wake up your Echo, or maybe your name is Alexa and all this shouting is confusing.


Guess what, you can change your Echo’s wake word. No, not to just any old thing you want, but Amazon does give you a few options; Alexa (the default), Amazon, and computer. Here’s how to change your wake word:


Open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and tap on the three lines stacked on top of each other (also known as the Menu button) in the upper right corner of the app. Tap on Settings and then Device Settings.


Choose your device from the list (if you have more than one) scroll down to Wake Word. Select the new wake word you’d like from the list, and then select OK.


This setting is device-specific, so change it on all of your devices.The change takes a minute or so to process, so be patient.


Downloading your Instagram photos

If you’re breaking up with Facebook because of the crisis-a-week Facebook’s 2018 was, remember that Facebook owns Instagram, too. To be a clean break you need to delete Instagram, too. But guess what happens to your photos? That’s right, they’ll all be deleted with your account.


Here’s how to download them, even if you’re not deleting your Instagram account and just want them saved to your device.


Launch Instagram on your phone and tap your profile button at the bottom right side of the page. Tap the three lines stacked on top of each other (also known as the Menu button) at the top-right of the screen and tap Settings from the bottom of the menu. Scroll way down and tap Data download and then tap Request download.


Instagram sends you an email when your photos are ready to download and includes a link for your download. The whole thing can take as long as 48 hours, so be patient.


Oh really…

Did you hear about the guy who changed his WiFi name to “Hack me if you can?”

The next day he woke up to find his WiFi name had been changed to “Challenge accepted.”


Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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