It seems that most characters in films and TV missed the memo on making a good Secret Word or pass phrase. They are almost invariably single words or names of significance to a character which can be easily deduced using a little detective work: the clue is often right there on the desk, in the form of a picture or memento. Or simply spelled out in bold lettering on your commemorative plaque or a wall poster. Another thing that's widely overlooked in fiction is the fact that a password in most cases has to be matched with a username.
A related trope in fiction is to have the password entry plain and clear - on the screen - for all to see. No sense in bleeping out the characters with asterisks or a mute prompt. Of course, scriptwriting-wise, a particularly amusing password can elicit a humorous response from the audience this way without dialogue exposition.
See also Override Command, Joe Sent Me, and Embarrassing Password.
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Examples of Swordfish:
The indirect trope namer is the Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers. Pinky (Harpo Marx) manages to get inside despite his muteness by pulling a large fish and a sword out of his coat, sticking the one into the other, and presenting it to the doorman. This is such a beloved gag among Hollywood wrliters and directors that dozens of later movies homaged it (or homaged homages to it) when it came time to include a password of their own.
The movie subverts it later when Groucho manages to get inside and locks Chico out.
Wagstaff (Groucho): You can't get in without the password.
Baravelli (Chico): Ah, you can't fool me! "Swordfish"!
Wagstaff: No, I got tired of that so I changed it.
Baravelli: Oh, well what's the password now?
Wagstaff: Gee, I forgot it. I better come out there with you!
In "The Thing That Wouldn't Stop It", a character demands a password before adding: "...And if you say 'swordfish,' I'll lose it!" The password ends up being "haggis".
Later, in Sam and Max: The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball, one of Sam's guesses for the password to the back room of Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino is "swordfish". The real password is the phrase "Leave the guns, take the cannoli."
And again in Sam and Max: Reality 2.0, where it's one of the guesses for the password to Bosco's bank account. However, the real password is Bosco.
Guess what it is in Swordfish. Go on, guess. The Big Bad is a big movie buff, as evidenced by numerous references he makes to various classics through the film, so it was probably supposed to be like that. The German title is "Passwort: Swordfish".
Joked about in A Dance with Rogues. The password to get into the sewer entrance is "stinkfish."
Q: "I don't think 'Please' is the magic word today; you'll have to try again. How about Swordfish?"
In Kingdom of Loathing, an adventure on the Poopdeck of the ship at the Obligatory Pirate's Cove has you randomly asked by a pirate "What be the password?" If you've read the appropriate quest item, you'll correctly answer that the password is "swordfish", and unlock a new area to explore. To further hammer the trope home, the adventure this happens in (which doesn't happen if you don't read your father's MacGuffin diary) is even titled "It's Always Swordfish."
A Clan can purchase a speakeasy and use it to order some very nice drinks. Problem is, in order to unlock these drinks you need to give a password. Each clan has a different password for each drink, but the Lucky Lindy in particular has the same password throughout all clans. Guess what this password is...
Spoofed in Naruto: Sasuke gives a long, complex poem for the team's password; in dismay, Naruto suggests "swordfish" as an alternative. When a ninja impersonating Naruto gives Sasuke the correct password, Sasuke immediately attacks because Naruto would never remember something like that.
Infocom's Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
Recess: "The Secret Life of Grotke". Used as the password for a magic society.
In Return To Zork the lighthouse keeper's first words to you are: "What's the password? Can't let you in without the password. And don't try swordfish, I know its not that. I tried it myself, I couldn't get in..."
ThisMad Men episode has it as half of the password to an illegal gambling den.
In the computer game Impossible Mission, the goal of the game is to collect microfilm which, when reassembled in your PDA, delivers the villain hideout door's nine letter password. One of the passwords that can be generated this way is of course 'Swordfish'.
On FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, Ruff chooses this as his password to his security system. He actually has trouble remembering it.
In The Muppet Show Comic Book, two characters meeting have a call-and-response password. The response is "Swordfish swordfish swordfish swordfish swordfish."
In the FPS Cold Winter, guess what's the password needed to enter the Golden Narguile Club?
In the book series for Clue, one of the mysteries revolved around the guests trying to figure out the password to the display case that held Mr. Boddy's latest treasure (a solid gold fish). It turned out to be, of course, "swordfish."
Code MENT: Lelouch mentions in passing that Suzaku's password for everything is, indeed, "Swordfish".
A variant in Brink: In one of the Agents of Change missions, a member of the Security confirms that he's an ally by reciting "swordfish114" to them.
The English dub of one episode of Lupin IIIlampshades this with Lupin's unlikely password of "Aye-ahh! Swordfish, open sesame, and other crap like that!"
In the episode "Kennel Kittens Return" of the 2010 version of Pound Puppies, the password for entering the gated community of the target adoptive family is "swordfish".
Subverted in Pirate101, the player is told that the password to see the Frogfather is "swordfish". The player is later told the real password is "ribbet". This appears even more ridiculous, since the Frogfather is an anthropomorphic frog. But while it seems silly, it's Crazy Enough to Work. Nobody's ever guessed it.
Similar to the aforementioned Tenchi example: In one episode of Lupin III, Lupin and Jigen break into NASA using a series of stolen voice-command passwords. When they encounter one more password than they expected, the pair panics and Lupin swears in frustration - which turns out to be the final password. (Extra note: In the Gag Dub English dub, all the passwords are Star TrekCatch Phrases.)
The password that Barnette uses to protect the systems of the Nirvana in Vandread is ridiculously simple, yet it proves to be a big hurdle for the Mejale forces - and to the heroes, who try to get away with the ship.
In an episode of Shaman King, Len logs into his family's database to get some information. He allows his friends to watch him enter the super-secret password, which, after a moment of intense anticipation, turns out to be Enter. Not the word, but the key. Everyone promptly pratfalls as Len brags that it's the greatest password ever.
In School Days, Setsuna is able to reconfigure Makoto's cell phone by guessing correctly, at the very first try, that he used his birthday as password.
Averted and referenced in Chobits. When Hideki tries to set a password on Sumomo, the first thing he tries to set it as is his last name...which is immediately rejected because it's so easy. Then he changes it to Chobits, and Sumomo even suggests that he uses a mix of hiragana and katakana (and English letters and numbers, but he doesn't use any of those).
Played with in Black Lagoon. A two-part password to identify a hired bodyguard as genuine is "May the force be with you" ("The Triad is super cool." in the japanese version). The lack of creativity behind this password is lampshaded by both courier and bodyguard. The trick is that it's not the real password. The real password was handed out in sealed envelopes to the courier and bodyguard beforehand, and having anyone complete the fake one would identify an impostor and also implicate a leak in the organization.
In the Neon Genesis Evangelion episode with Jet Alone, the password to its main computer is "hope" (希望, displayed on a screen, using a Japanese IME to type it in). This is a word you would likely learn in your first semester of Japanese study if you take a class.
The password for accessing Eva-02's "beast mode" in Rebuild of Evangelion—"za beasto"—isn't all too creative, either. It seems to use voice recognition. Though there are two voice commands before you enter the code specifically for this mode. Its doubtful the other pilots are even aware of inverting controls or a backdoor code to an EVA so at least it has some level of security.
Detective Conan: In order to shake a suspicious Ran off his trail, Conan deliberately picks a password for his cellphone that is a Homage to Sherlock Holmes, as that's the only password that would be logical for both Conan and Shinichi (who Ran thinks the phone really belongs to). Still, before Ran figures this out, she attempts his birthday, hers, and then just goes straight for the brute force method.
Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh! successfully hacked into Pegasus J. Crawford's system because he accurately guessed that Pegasus was so vain as to believe no one would get that far. Password? Pegasus. Interestingly, the password in the Japanese version is a tidy bit harder - since, according to Kaiba's logic, the Duelist Kingdom is a metaphorical prison island from which none can exit, the password is a reference to that - "Alcatraz".
In Mega Man NT Warrior (RockMan.EXE), the cyber door to the room with MegaMan's "frame" in it had a single-digit password (looked to be "2"). Like the word "password," it's a good and bad password at the same time.
Subverted in the first Patlabor movie. When the protagonist just tries the name of a brilliant programmer as the password to the man's source-code disk, he gets a biblequote from Genesis 11 for his trouble. Oh, and every electronic piece of equipment connected to the computer he was using gets infected with a virus and displays/prints nothing but the word Babel in an endless loop.
Averted with the knightmares in Code Geass; each has a random sequence of letters and numbers to start each one up. Lloyd plays it straight with access to a weapons system on the Lancelot, telling Suzaku it's his favorite food.
In both Japanese and English versions of Wolverine, the password on Logan's handheld computer is simply his name. Granted, it was a voice-activated password, but Yukio's "Seriously?" reaction is still the same.
In Saki, during the "Saki Biyori" spinoff, Maho- who has great potential as a mahjong player but is held back due to constantly making amateur mistakes, having bad habits and her lack of common sense- has her username as her password for her mahjong account. To make matters worse, she writes it on a sticky note where everyone can see it.
Used in Gold Digger, by Gina Diggers. User: Password, Pass: User. Even Gina couldn't figure it out, since she couldn't remember WHAT stupid thing she did! Gina Diggers continued the poor passwords with her personal laptop's password "Studpants", which for Gina is no surprise at all - and caused trouble when one of her sister Brianna's AIs did get access to it. To make matters worse for Gina's precious computer security, two other characters share much of her memories (sorta three, but it's hard to imagine a password that would keep out a time traveling future self) and would have an extra-easy time guessing.
Chase: The name of their little club? Isn't that sorta obvious?
Karolina: Well, my mom's AOL password is "password". Old people aren't exactly good at this stuff.
In Watchmen, Nite Owl correctly guesses Ozymandias's password: "Ramses II", the pharaoh of which "Ozymandias" is the Greek name. This is a commonly-used Real Life teaching example of how not to choose a password. The program even helpfully tells him when he enters an incomplete password, allowing him to work out the rest. However Ozymandius wanted them to guess the password and find his secret lair to complete his grand scheme so that they wouldn't be anywhere near civilization when the Depopulation Bomb goes off.
Near the end of one Blue Beetle arc, Jaime is captured by the aliens who built the suit and locked in a cell. After he slips his cuffs, he tries poking at the door and wall until he realizes it's voice-commanded.
In one of the last issues of Nightwing, Oracle is dicking around with Dick Grayson's computer and asks if he wants her to change his password while she's at it. Dick, being an ex-carny, naturally asks her to change it to "big top." Even though Oracle's entire shtick is being good with computers, she does it without telling him what an idiot he is.
In Cavewoman the phrase needed to open a magical portal is "Oh my God! I don't want to die!". As the portal is guarded by flesh eating yetis, this has resulted in a lot of intruders accidentally saying the activation phrase.
Robin III, in Robin Annual #1 (noteworthy for actually predating the first issue of his ongoing series by several months), broke into Anarky's home and tried to crack into his computer. After trying every prominent anarchist he could think of, he looks at the screen, which instructs him to "enter passcode." He does, and it works.
Gen 13: Averted in DV8; teammate Freestyle has the power to choose an outcome from the Best of All Possible Worlds. This means that the team sends her to tackle anything involving a password, because she can simply choose the "randomly pressed the right keys in the right sequence" possibility. However, a task like that has a lot of variables, so it takes a few minutes of work for her to find the right outcome, and because her body lives through every possibility she sees, she ages rapidly when taxed.
In Those Lacking SpinesXaldin, Vexen and Lexaeus needs to hack into Mansex's computer in order to stop his and his masters plan. Of course, in order to do so they need a password. After Lexaeus and Xaldin guesses on Xiggykun Akuchan Marleydono HomieXLuxory Secks DemykinsOMGWTFBBQVCR Zexypoo Mansex (which is all the Seme's names in order), Vexen points out that it's both too many letters as well as incredibly stupid and asks what kind of idiot would use such a password. Xaldin answers that Mansex would, since he's the seme of Xemnas whose somebody Xehanort was known for his dumb passwords (see the Video Games folder for more information). Of course, the password's correct.
In the Catwoman/Batman fanfic series Cat-Tales the password into Bruce's extra-secret partition of the Batcave mainframe is his father's first name, his mother's first name, and "justice." Noted here because once you sit down at the keyboard of a terminal hidden in the cave under the man's Stately Manor...
In a Hetalia fanfic America's password was 'fuck!Russia!fuck' during the Cold War, which Russia guessed. He then started to change his passwords from time to time. The one he currently uses is 'fuck!China!nooo'. Yeah...
In ''The Grinning Snake, Konoka, trying to enter a password-protected file on her father's computer to find out more about why he was killed, tries every obvious possibility first, including birthdays, pet names and favorite foods, then finally tries her own name and gets in. The moment when she realizes that her father had her name as a password is a bit of a Tear Jerker.
In a Les Miz fanfiction set in the modern day, Javert messes with Valjean's computer and changes the password to "24601". They end up going down a list of very common passwords. Apparently a lot of people just make their password "password".
In Bleach Fan Works, Kon, while trying to get onto Ichigo's computer, tries several different passwords- "Shinigami" for Ichigo(what he is), "Soccer" for Karin(the sport she plays), and "Masaki" for Isshin(the name of his dead wife). None of them work until he gets through with "Strawberry" for Yuzu(what Ichigo's name means in Japanese).
Batman & Robin: Alfred protects a CD (containing Batman and Robin's secret identities, the location of the Batcave, and other such trivial little stuff) with the password "Peg", which is too short, both a dictionary word and a relative's name, and written on an autographed photo right on his desk. This enables another character to easily access the disk. Admittedly, the disk was intended to be accessed by Alfred's brother (as designated heir to Alfred's position), and it's hinted that Alfred expected Barbara to disobey his request to leave the disk alone but really...
In Batman Returns, Selina Kyle breaks into Max Shreck's protected files by guessing that his password is the name of his dog.
Max: How industrious. And how did you open protected files, may I ask?
Selina: Well, I figured your password was "Geraldo", your Chihuahua, and it was.
WarGames. This movie took place in the early eighties, when password security issues were not as cliché as they are now, but this movie demonstrates both simple passwords and the habit of writing them down in a nearby list.
The backdoor password for NORAD's "War Operation Plan Response" program on the computer that controls the entire nuclear missile arsenal of the United States is "Joshua", the name of the programmer's dead son. The same name that the programmer has given the computer itself, in fact. Just before trying "Joshua", David says "It can't be that simple!" Way to go, Professor Falken. In the novelization of the film, Falken's backdoor was Joshua5, five being his son's age when he died. Not much better, but at least it had a number in it.
The school teacher uses simple words for passwords, like "pencil". It was implied the school computer system's password field could only accept alphabetical sequences of exactly six characters.
It's very obvious from the tones how easy the padlock passcode is. It appears to be two different digits each repeated three times.
In National Treasure, Abigail's password to enter the National Archive vaults is "VALLEYFORGE". (That's Fridge Logic for you...) A bit subverted when you think about it, though, because Ben and Riley weren't able to calculate it (they put invisible ink on her fingers and then put the letters she typed into an anagram generator, but the computer had no way of knowing that she used "L" and "E" twice), and they thought they'd failed until TV Genius Ben had his epiphany.
In Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, the password to access the HX 368 computer is "IY 479" - in other words, "HX 368" with each characters shifted up by one. After it's cracked, they add another level of security to the system...which turns out to be nothing more than reversing the code. With predictable results.
Crow: You know, if this works, I am going to spank you, Movie.
Justified in The Departed. The password to a file about an undercover police operation is the first and last name of the cop that is undercover. Since if anybody who wasn't supposed to know the agent's name were to find it out, the operation would be ruined anyway, why not?
In Battlefield Earth the combination to Terl's secure vault is his employee ID number, typed in backwards.
In Catch That Kid, the password Maddie needs to get into her mother's bank is her own name, Madeline.
In the 2006 Casino Royale, Bond uses the numbers corresponding to "Vesper" as a password — the name of the woman he's got on his side. And the bad guys were still unable to guess it, trying to torture it out of him!
He likely got the idea from when he was trying to figure out what the word "ELLIPSIS" meant. He thought it was a name of some operation, but it turned out to be the letters corresponding to the number code on a door at the airport. Go figure. This one was somewhat justified as it was a simple door lock.
In GoldenEye Boris, supposedly one of the greatest hackers in the Soviet Union and able to crack the United States' government databases, uses simple, one-word passwords and dares his rival, Natalya, to guess them by giving her simple riddles. It obviously backfires when he gives her the riddle "You sit on it, but you can't take it with you," for his personal password. Bond determines that the answer is "chair" in less than a second, allowing Natalya to track Boris's position and find the terrorists' secret hideout.Justified in that up until this point all the answers were "dirty words" (usually female anatomy). Natalya kept thinking dirty and failing, whereas Bond, not having known Boris gets it on the first try.
In TRONDillinger's password for access to the Master Control Program is apparently "master". Flynn, a superior programmer, uses a better password, the apparently gibberish "reindeer flotilla."
Hackers, though a white hat hacker points out that he had made a list of passwords that are overly easy to guess (the one used was "God") and thus should be avoided. He neglects to mention "password," however. In his defense, anyone brainless enough to use "password" as their password deserves to get hacked.
In Doctor Strangelove, the crucial recall code that will prevent nuclear war involves the letters P, O, and E, stemming from General Ripper's obsession with "purity of essence", as well as "peace on earth". Fortunately, Peter Sellers figures this out in time. Sort of.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan showed us that one Federation starship can use a "prefix code" to get another Federation starship to lower its shields. This very dangerous trick is protected by five-digit (non-repeating judging by the switch mechanism used to enter it), numbers-only sequence a modern-day computer could break in almost no time. The only saving grace is that there is an Override Command in place specifically designed to keep starships from doing this to each other at will; the system was designed to take out captured vessels, under the assumption that any boarding parties would be unlikely to locate it. Also, it could be that the ship would only get one crack at the code, so a brute force password attack would fail.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock showed us that the codes used for the Enterprise self destruct sequence haven't changed in 15 years, despite there having been one major refit and several command changes. Although the film apparently zig-zags this trope. On the one hand, the self destruct code is the not quite terrible but still pretty bad: "1, 1A," then "1, 1A, 2B," then "1B, 2B, 3," and finally, "0, 0, 0, Destruct 0." On the other hand, activating the self destruct sequence requires the consent of three different officers, each of whom is identified by voice recognition.
Technically, the final destruct password is "0, 0, 0." The "Destruct 0" part is to trigger the specific self-destruct mode. Self-destruct by scuttling charges is "Destruct 0," "Destruct 1" would be self-destruct by immediate mixing of the ship's entire matter and antimatter stores.
Averted in Star Trek: First Contact, where each officer involved in activating the self destruct both is identified by voice recognition and provides a unique identification code. The Borg (well, Data actually) are still able to override it, however.
Zed-10, the Master Computer in Fortress (1993 film with Christopher Lambert) has not a password, but a passphrase... Trope averted? Not at all: the passphrase is "Crime does not pay", the motto Zed-10 repeats every now and then (oh, and let's forget the Hollywood Hacking involved here...)
Simon: Okay, Jeanette, the third number is notoriously the hardest to crack. It's most likely a prime number, but we can't assume that.
Jeanette: Simon, the first two were one. I'm going to have to go with one.
Jeanette: It worked!
In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the ancient Egyptian tablet has the added ability to open a portal to the underworld and summon an army of demons if you punch in... the value of Pi, to about eight decimal places. The tablet isn't a computer, obviously, but the riddle to get the password is written right on the front. Something of a subversion, as not many people can remember that entire sequence. Note that the old Egyptians used the approximation of 256/81 for Pi, which would be about 3.16...
In The Ninth Gate, the combination of the door to the private library of an occult scholar obsessed with Satanism is also 666. He must have thought he was very clever.
There was The Three Stooges short Studio Stoops where Moe and Larry are trying to think of a password. Larry suggests "Open the door!" Moe smiles and compliments him on his idea, then promptly hits him in the face.
In The Fly II, the protagonist's computer is protected by the "magic word" password of Dad . Unusual in that the villain apparently suspected this might be the password, he just didn't trust the hunch enough to risk setting off a drive-wiping trap if it turned out to be wrong.
In one of the Spy Kids flicks, Carmen's own name turns out to be an important password. Granted, it's her fullseven-word name, so it's not as easy a guess as one might think.
Jumping Jack Flash. The key is in the song Jumping Jack Flash. Terry racks her brains at which of the lyrics is the password, til she realizes that the key is the key - that is, the musical key of the song. Later, when under truth serum, when asked what the password is, she burbles, "The key is the key!", confusing the antagonists.
In Clear and Present Danger, a CIA hacker is given the assignment of cracking a person's password. The cryptanalyst decides to brute-force the password, starting by spamming birthdays of the murdered family it belonged to. Ryan and his friend start to leave to get a cup of coffee, figuring it'll take a while, but as they get to the door the cryptanalyst hollers that he got it open. Wife's month, daughter's day, son's year. Not too bad for this trope, but still only six digits.
In Police Academy IV, the villain uses GREED as his password. The same word he has on his bracelet.
In Lord of War, the code to unlock Yuri's secret container where he hides his gun running documents and items is the date of his son's birthday, which his wife Ava realizes within less than a minute.
As with the Comic Book, in the film version of Watchmen, the password to Ozymandias' computer is Ramses II, which was slightly obvious considering his superhero name, his favorite person, and the books on his shelves. You would think the Smartest Man In The World would choose a harder to guess password...
Unless of course he wants you to find out the password...
In The Hangover Part II, the password to Chow's overseas bank account is Baloney1.
Chow: Well, it used to be just baloney, but then they started making you add number.
Kingsley: Fuckin' annoying...
In Dennis the Menace, Dennis correctly guesses that Mr. Wilson's safe combination is the same as his house number, reasoning that Mr. Wilson is "at least as smart" as his classmate who did the same. And while you would think Mr. Wilson would realize how foolish that is when a grade schooler figures it out, he apparently doesn't, as a thief effortlessly cracks the safe later in the movie.
In Neighbors, the "Lion's Den" (i.e. the storeroom of important stuff like drugs, alcohol, fireworks, and ping pong paddles), is protected by a three-digit password. Mac and Kelly have little trouble guessing that a bunch of fairly immature stoners like Delta Psi would use "420" for the password.
In In Time, the password for Phillipe Weis' vault is "12021809", Charles Darwin's birthday. His daughter Sylvia guesses it in one try, pointing out that Phillipe quotes Darwin all the time and is The Social Darwinist.
In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the password to the Chaos Theater is "whatever," the second password is a shrug. Guess what does Scott Pilgrim say and do when he's asked for the first and then the second passwords?
The Ditz telling a friend proudly: "I've got a new password. All the numbers are 5's, but I won't tell you in which order!"
This is besides how you can actually make good passwords in reality - passwords that are easy to remember for humans and realistically impossible to crack for computers. Unfortunately, most password protections do not allow such really long passwords. Instead humans are forced to remember ridiculous capitalization and numbers in their passwords, things that computers are good at, but which are hard to remember for humans.
A door has an inscription above it, which Gandalf interprets as "Speak, friend, and enter." After trying a few things, he (or, in the movie, Frodo) realized that he assumed the wrong punctuation - the inscription actually read "Say 'friend' and enter." The password was "mellon", the Elvish word for "friend". Justified, it isn't actually a password, merely a test if the reader knew elvish. The gate was specifically built to trade only with elves in the first place, who could be considered friends by default; the word was more like a trigger to open the door than an actual password.
Sindarin (Elvish) grammar sometimes has the first letter of words change, so it wouldn't change for "speak, friend" (pedo mellon) but it would for "say friend" (pedo vellon). And it was the former that was at the inscription. So the riddle wouldn't be as straightforward for a native speaker of Elvish. But of course, still a riddle, not quite a password.
In the parody of this scene in Bored of the Rings, Goodgulf tries all sorts of magic words to open the door. Then he notices the knob...
Also parodied in Dmitry Puchkov's Gag Dub of the LOTR movies, where the password in this scene is the word "password". The exchange (translated from Russian) goes like this:
Fyodor: Wait a minute, is that some kind of puzzle? "Say password and enter". What is Elvish for "password"? Pendalf: Der Parole.
Then she stood back, hit the rock sharply with her broomstick and spake thusly: "Open up, you little sods!"
There is a joke on the net where Gandalf turns his cloak inside out (with the inner side being black) and demands to "Open, in the name of Mordor". Probably based on an incident in the actual book (Fellowship of the Ring) in which the Nazgûl, who wear black cloaks, knock on a door and say this line. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away, of course, it just invites them to break the door down.
Party Member 1: So we're agreed... You guys go find a tree, cut it down, and haul the trunk back here. Dave and I will assemble the scaffolding, and Frank will tie all of the ropes together. Party Member 2: Now all we need is a pulley. Gandalf (the DM): Oh for crying out loud! The password is "Mellon," you lunatics! Party Member 2: Was that supposed to be in-character? Party Member 1: Who cares? At least we got the door open. Lesson of the Day: No matter how difficult or absurd you make a puzzle, your players will find an even more impossible and preposterous way of solving it.
The password to Senator Sedgewick Sexton's computer is only a little complex in Dan Brown's book Deception Point; His initials are SSS (which he actually used as his previous password only to change it after he lost an expensive dinner to his assistant as a result of her betting she could guess it in 10 seconds), and constantly talks about wanting to be the POTUS (President of the United States). Put them both together and you get POTUSSS (which said assistant also manages to guess).
The password that stops the deadly virus from destroying US intelligence firewalls and opening their secrets to the public is 3, the number. That's it. The villain even leaves a clue to the password in the coding for the virus program for no clearly defined reason: "What is the prime difference between the elements responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" A team of NASA scientists have to go through a whole scene of completely missing the point of the clue to make it seem more clever.
Susan Fletcher agonizes over a five letter password, after being told that the person who set it had been clingingly obsessing over her since their first meeting. Despite being a cryptanalyst, and it being her own name.
Whether intentionally or not, the title of this page is a practically verbatim quote from Pratchett's Discworld novel Night Watch, in which Sam Vimes accidentally discovers the hidden password for a meeting of rebels and remarks on their lack of imagination.
And in the Discworld novel Guards! Guards!, the doorkeeper for a secret society trades complicated pass-phrases with a new arrival, only to discover the newcomer is looking for a different secret gathering when the sixth phrase fails to match. (Apparently there are a LOT of secret societies in Ankh-Morpork.)
Subverted in an enchanted door in the Discworld novel Mort, which harangues a character with a demand for "the magic word" before it will open... Only it's not asking for a password—as your mother told you, the magic word is "please". Subverted further in that she doesn't catch on; the door only tells her the answer after its owner hears her fighting with it and lets her in himself.
The character in question was Princess Keli, trying to get in to see a Wizard named Cutwell:
Door: "You could try using The Magic Word. Coming from an attractive woman it works nine times out of eight." Keli: "And what is the magic word?" Door: "Have you been taught nothing, miss??" Keli: "I have been educated by some of the finest scholars on the disc!" Door: "Well if they didn't teach you the magic word they couldn't have been all that fine."
In Along Came a Spider, the villain mentions the significance of the phrase "Aces & Eights" to her, when she's using it as her password.
The outlaws in The Last Unicorn have the opposite problem. Their passwords are so complex and change so often that they can't remember them. They solve this by making the new password a giraffe call. But giraffes don't make any noise ... ah, that's the genius of it. You have to give the call three times: two long and one short.
In Foucaults Pendulum, one character's computer has an ultra-complex security system which would take years to pass via random guessing, as the protagonist calculates. It asks the question "Do You Know The Password?". The correct answer is No. Yes, just the word "No". (There's a deeper reason for this: In order to gain knowledge, you have to admit that you don't know a specific thing.)
Lampshaded and averted in Von Neumann's War wherein a character notes that most people are uncreative with their passwords, using birthdays, names, etc. His own password? 189 digits of random high ASCII.
Frequently comes up in Bastard Operator from Hell, where a character might mention their password as being something stupidly easy or complain that their old password is no longer valid. One story had a boss complain that his password of "X" doesn't work any more.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Inverted: Sir Cadogan's ridiculously complicated and often-changing passwords prove to be too much for Neville Longbottom's notoriously poor memory, so Neville writes them down... and Sirius Black steals them. This is another chronic problem in Real Life.
Dumbledore's passwords to the Headmaster's Office tended to be his favorite candies. Knowing this, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry gets into the office with a brute force attack. Although he does use ones that wizards won't be familiar with (muggle sweets like Sherbet Lemons), and ones that they won't expect (cockroach cluster).
The Slytherin password at one point in Chamber of Secrets is "pure blood".
The Chamber of Secrets itself is opened by simply telling it to open in Parseltongue. Seems justified in that almost all wizards who were not descendants of Salazar Slytherin cannot speak the language, but Ron manages to brute force it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by repeatedly trying gibberish that sounds like Parseltongue. It helps that Ron was in Harry's presence both times Harry used the Parseltongue command "Open", so he had some idea of how it sounded.
The Ravenclaw dormitory bypasses this problem entirely by not using a password to enter. Instead, people have to solve a riddle to get in, ensuring that whoever wants to get in will get a little smarter each time. It does bring up the fact that those not in Ravenclaw can enter the dormitory, if they are smart enough to solve the riddle. The intention may have been that if you can solve the riddle, you're enough of a Ravenclaw to enter. There are a number of hints throughout the books that the founders of Hogwarts didn't intend for students to be nearly as divided as they've ended up. This also serves them rather well in book 7. The Carrows can't solve the riddles, and need someone else to let them in. This may have made Ravenclaw dormitory one of the more secure places in the school.
The Marauder's Map has a passphrase that admittedly may not be incredibly easy to guess, but Word of God says that Fred and George were able to make it work because the map reveals more and more of itself, the closer you get to the correct phrase. Considering that the Map demonstrates at least some elements of the Marauders' personalities, it's possible that it only provides such hints if it likes the person who's guessing.
Lampshaded in the Doctor Who novel The Last Dodo. The Doctor says an android's computer password will be something mindbogglingly complex that only an android could remember, not her favourite soap star or her first pet. It's her first pet. Actually, they just think it's her pet at first. It actually turns out to be her creator.
In a parody of Smiley's People in The Little Book of Mornington Crescent, the password to enter the MI 7 safe house is "I am a Jehovah's Witness." When Smirkey arrives for his secret meeting, there are two men in dark suits with copies of The Watch Tower already there.
In the Michael Connelly novel Angels Flight, the password to a dead lawyer's computer is "VSLAPD". The lawyer had a particular habit of civil rights lawsuits against the LAPD, which would be titled "Elias vs. LAPD". The password was written down on a secretary's notepad.
In Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding the terrorists have two electric keypad protected doors which she must get through to escape from their under-water-cave-lair. When threatened the bad guy confesses that the first doors have a numerical sequence of 2468 that Olivia immediately lampshades with a comment of "Isn't that a bit obvious?" Unfortunately that is promptly followed by the second set of doors' code being the even more horrifically predictable 0911, which is rewarded by a roll of the eyes.
In Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, Ben Caxton's girlfriend Jill has kidnapped the Man From Mars and needs to hide out in Ben's apartment, which has a sound lock. She tries the old password, which doesn't work. Then she thinks, maybe see if Ben is home, so she presses the announce button and says, "Ben, this is Jill" and the door opens. She's about to complain to him that he didn't open the door when she tried the first time, only to discover he's not there; she had accidentally guessed the access code!
Played with in the fourth book of The Pendragon Adventure series. The characters go on a massive manhunt for the guy that created a huge virtual paradise that is threatening to collapse at any moment, and who also went into seclusion IN his own said paradise, to stop a huge virus initially made by the Mega Nekko to stop the Big Bad's Evil Plan to topple the world (and by doing so, help his plan all along), almost lose life and limb, AND have to convince the guy to give up the password to get into the main code to purge the virus. The password? Zero. Just...zero. He actually justifies this saying that he knew people would expect it to be a complex password, instead he made it a single digit, throwing off anyone attempting to hack the system.
Played with in a novel by C.J. Cherryh, the protagonist is mildly tortured for access to his laptop. Once he tells them the 'password' (giving the date where it asks for 'date') they access information deliberately designed for such an eventuality which looks good, but is useless.
Played around with in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the passwords to get into the VFD headquarters is a mixture of the easily guessable kind (sirisaacnewton) and the ridiculously difficult (a page long thesis on the themes present in the novel Anna Karinina)
The Millennium Trilogy : The Girl Who Played With Fire has Lisbeth Salander's home security password set to WASP, which is the very conspicuous tattoo she had on her neck. Didn't take much for much for Blomkvist to figure that out. Somewhat justified in that she never expected anyone who knew her to be able to find the place, that it was a standard anti-intrusion alarm which doesn't allow for huge passwords, and regardless of whether or not someone enters the password it alerts Lisbeth to the intrusion.
The Opal Deception: Artemis correctly deduces that the henchmen didn't change the password on the cuffs on him and Holly Short from its factory default. However, it's not one digit repeated three times. It's the LEP equivalent to 911, which is on every billboard in Haven and Holly has memorized. This was possibly done deliberately so Opal could have more fun watching them try to survive against impossible odds.
An example more demonstrative of the trope, although still not exactly straight, is also in The Opal Deception, when Artemis's password for an encrypted disc is the family motto, Aurum est potestas. However, here he wanted Butler to guess the password, and it is arguably a password that you could only guess if you knew Artemis well.
In The Time Paradox, Foaly the centaur (who is one of the few people Artemis feels is on the same intellectual level as himself) asks Artemis the password to get into the manor's system. The password is CENTAUR, all caps.
Averted and subverted in Sewer, Gas & Electric, when the heroine hears a supercomputer's complex administrative-level password on a video clip. When she tries to use it herself, it fails to work, as the video clip was prepared by the supercomputer itself, giving her false information.
In Stephen King's novel Firestarter, the personnel at the secret government agency "The Shop" apparently all use four-letter dictionary words as passwords.
In the Sten series of novels by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch, the secret network for automated mining and distribution of the Unobtainium that was the monopoly of the Eternal Emperor's power had its several command stations guarded by no password at all. As the stations had to be dirt-simple in their circuitry (due to the requirement of possibly needing to run decades or centuries without maintenance) and could not use complex physical locks or passwords (due to the requirement of possibly needing to be accessed by a man on the run without the resources to reconstruct complex electronic keys and who might not be in possession of all, or any, of his memories), the security system was simply set to self-destruct the installation if more than one person ever entered the control room at a time. The Eternal Emperor's reasoning was that no intruder with the remotest amount of sense would enter a hidden base that was heavily booby-trapped and could contain any number of potential ambushers without taking along armed backup or a bomb squad, and that only the legitimate owner would dare to walk in by himself. The theory fell down when the protagonist, a black-ops qualified demolitions expert commando, did a one-man ninja run on the base — although the titular Sten did muse at his exceptional luck in that his partner Alex was unavoidably busy doing something else in another star system at the time, as if he'd been available Sten would have brought him along.
There's a short story called Mousetrap which thoroughly averted this trope in an unusual way. Simply knowing the password to a character's computer account proved insufficient to gain access to it, you also had to type it with the correct rhythm, as the computer timed the keystrokes.
In The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton, when entering the guarded anarchists' lair, you knock five times and then are asked who you are. The correct response is "Mr. Joseph Chamberlain", an influential British politician of the time. So, a celebrity, but an odd choice for the anarchists!
In Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy, the titular character asks a friend for advice on safecracking and he tells her how most people choose to use numbers corresponding to birthdays or anniversaries or other important events rather than random numbers (she needs to help some people open a safe so her friend won't have to shift through dog poop for the key, long story). Later, Sammy uses this information to crack open a safe in her church and solve a mystery (it used the Father's birthday).
Justified in Eric Idle's sci-fi novel The Road to Mars. Carlton, the robot, is trying to break into a computer using the most advanced hacking algorithms possible. Eventually he thinks of looking for a simple word as the password. He explains that password breaking programs have become so complex that it's possible to fool them by going under their level of complexity with very simple passwords.
In Lullaby, everyone's password is "password," which is indicative of society's laziness and lack of imagination.
In Octagon, two programmers responsible for their universe's version of MS-DOS programmed an Override Command into the code, so they could take control of any system with two passwords. Each programmer only knows one of these passwords, to prevent abuse. The problem arises when AI becomes a crapshoot, with one of the passwords programmed into it from the start, and it turns out both programmers used the same password, giving Skynet Lite access to everything that uses an operating system based off of MS-BOS.
Played with in Temple. William Race comments fairly early on that his brother's passwords are always Elvis's army serial number. Later on, when trying to defuse an Earth-Shattering Bomb set up by a thought-executed scientist, Race and a friend attempt to guess the password. Race realizes that, thanks to the scientist's pride, he would want to stick it to the world in some way with his last act, and punches in the execution date. It works. Later, Race is defusing another bomb of the same type. However, his brother designed the codes on this one, and so it's Elvis's army serial number.
Dark Future: Averted in Comeback Tour; Needlepoint requires a massive list of codewords to be entered in response to the satellite computer's queries, taking twelve hours to complete the correct entry of all the passwords. Parodied in Demon Download: The password is "swordfist" and is frequently mistaken for swordfish.
At the start of Galaxy of Fear: The Planet Plague, just enough of a dead Imperial-aligned scientist's notes are decoded that Tash Arranda knows he had something to do with a Project Starscream. She soon ends up at a computer in an Imperial medical facility, and through some major serendipity finds that "Starscream" is the high-level passcode for everything from Classified Information, to the elevators.
Harry Harrison's short story The Mothballed Spaceship has an old Imperial battleship, which the heroes need to reactivate in order to stop an attack on Earth. Unfortunately, nobody knows the deactivation code, although Jason tells Meta that it's probably something simple and straightforward (Harrison had a notoriously low opinion of the military). They try a difficult plan to get aboard the ship past its automated cannons. After that, they manage to get to the control room, only for the ship to start a self-destruct sequence. In the end, Meta saves the day by figuring out the password at the last moment. It's "haltu" (Esperanto for "stop").
In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, the password to Mech's lab is "Beebee" (Penny's mom's nickname). Penny's not sure if this means Mech has a crush on her mother, or if it means her father designed the security system and Mech never changed the default.
[the command staff have used their command code passwords to reset the station's computer system]
Garabaldi: Hey, would you have guessed it?
Not that bad, as most systems on B5 also require voiceprint or DNA identification as part of two-factor security.
In Smallville, Lex Luthor's computer password was at one point his dead little brother's name, Julian.
Heroes averts, spoofs and justifies superhero tropes all the time, yet has a plaintext name with obvious relation to its setter as a password. (And for extra security, the computer tells you when it's incomplete)
Episode "Through the Looking Glass" has Sisko going to an alternate universe, where the designer of the space station used the same passwords as his duplicate in the "real" universe. Not only that, but no one seems to change the password that activates the self destruct on taking command of a space station. It might be assumed that the password was the designer's fixed back door, except that it's the same as Mirror Kira's password and Sisko was able to change it.
Episode 'Defiant', where the means of getting entry onto the ship uses not passwords but both a voiceprint AND fingerprint scan (possibly also a DNA check too as Odo mentions later that Will and Thomas Riker's DNA coding is identical—no surprise there). All of this done in front of a security guard too. In Real Life, a fingerprint scan would normally weed out an identical twin, but Thomas Riker is a transporter duplicate of Will Riker, so it's justified here.
Played straight when genius-level scientist Brennan tries to keep her password secret.
Booth: I know your password too. It's Daffodil.
Brennan: I never told you that!
Booth: What? I got eyes. I mean you guys aren't exactly CIA material.
Brennan: What? They're pretty. And I'm changing my password.
Brennan: How did you know?
Booth: It's your second favorite flower. I know you, Bones. Try a planet!
Brennan: (entering password)
Episode "The Beaver in the Otter": Booth finds a locked suitcase and asks Bones for the owner's birthdate. He's mildly surprised when that fails, but then realizes that she'd given it to him in scientific order (day-month-year). The traditional order (month-day-year) opens the case.
In "Voyage of the Damned", the evil robot angels can be delayed by saying "Security Protocol One." But It Only Works Once.
In the Tom Baker storyline "The Invasion of Time", the Doctor tries to break an encrypted lock that even the sonic screwdriver won't open. He examines the lock to see if it takes retina or voice scans, before muttering how one of his favorite professors at the Prydonian Academy once told him that "there was nothing more useless than a lock with a voiceprint." He then realizes that the password is the phrase, "There is nothing more useless than a lock with a voice print", spoken aloud. Later in that same episode, the above-mentioned professor (whose office the Doctor was nosing around in) enters his office and opens the secret door by saying the phrase "There is nothing more useless than a lock with a voice imprint" — and the door accepts it, which seems to prove the professor's point since this voice-activated door lock obviously isn't that picky about vocal frequencies (the Doctor doesn't even try to imitate the professor's voice) or the actual phrasing of the password.
In "World War Three," the password to every non-nuclear UN-controlled missile launch platform is apparently "buffalo". It's implied that this is either a special password for UNIT or a back door the Doctor himself installed back when he was working with UNIT in the original series.
Surprisingly averted with the wifi password in "The Bells of Saint John" that Clara asks from the girl she's babysitting. The password is "RYCBAR123". Clara immediately asks how she's supposed to remember that (why anyone would need to enter the password more than once on the same computer is not explained though). The girl tells her a mnemonic device: "Run, you clever boy, and remember". Clara is on the phone with the Doctor as that very moment (she thought she called tech support), and he realizes only Clara would use this phrase.
Jack keeps not only his safe's password but also the password for the Rift manipulator written in a notebook. As Owen remarks: "Not so clever, Jack."
In "Children of Earth", Bridget Spears, a fairly high-ranking civil servant, uses the password "hastings"...and writes it down for her new assistant to use.
In an episode of Stargate SG-1, a character mentions this trope and that it's usually "something familiar". Kinsey, whose computer they were trying to access, mentions that he has "a wife, three children, seven grandchildren and various nieces and nephews", but Jack O'Neill figures out that the password is Oscar, the name of Kinsey's dog.
Subverted in episode "Like A Virgin". Veronica reports that her account's been hacked, and the system administrator gives her a spiel about password safety. Whereupon she reveals that her password was "GJ7B!X" (with possible variation in case).
Subverted again in "Mars vs. Mars." Keith changes the combination to his safe to something of personal significance, then leaves it in a location that would be highly visible to a trained PI. When trained PI Veronica finds all the password and opens the safe, it no longer contains files but instead an ink packet that explodes onto her.
Takes this trope to its logical extreme, by having Ducky, who had recently become a forensic psychologist, determine the password of a missing naval officer based on a study of objects collected from her apartment. Since she was a bookworm, it was the title of one of her books. Ducky was even able to guess which book after a few token tries.
Double Subverted in another NCIS episode. Tony, breaking into a house, enters in a password easily extrapolated from Genre Savvy knowledge of this trope (the password was a birthday, as indicated by the worn out numbers). Unfortunately for him, it's a double-failsafe system. Triple subverted, perhaps, by the fact that the policeman that arrives is the killer.
In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, Oswald has keylocked his cell phone and forgotten the password. He starts off with 1111, then 1112, getting to 1114 before Lewis throws the cell phone out the window. Oswald then remembers that he wrote down the password, and gets it out of his wallet. The password? 1115. In another episode Mimi guess Mr. Wick's secret password. It's "Mr. Wick."
Oswald: He used his own name as the password? That's stupid.
Mimi: At least it's a better password than "password".
Oswald and Lewis: I already changed it!
Later in that same episode we get the following exchange:
Lewis: Hey Mimi, I bet you'll never guess my new password.
Mimi: [annoyed and unconcerned] Shut up.
Lewis: Damn! Well I'll bet you'll never guess my new password.
Mimi: Who cares?
Lewis: She's a witch!
Mimi: I'm gettin' a beer.
Lewis: STOP IIIIIIIIIIT!!!
In one episode of Drake & Josh, Megan told the brothers she found out the name of the woman who they thought their dad was dating. When they asked how she found out, Megan revealed that she read Walter's e-mail, and she explained that his password had been so easy and lame. It was "password". When Josh hears this, he tries to subtly walk over to his own computer.
Double subverted in one episode. Dr. House is desperately trying to get into a patient's laptop, and couldn't guess the password. He claims that this proves the patient was lying/hypocritical/etc about his "no secrets" policy. Dr. "Thirteen" suggests that he leaves the password blank. The system logs in.
Of course, House encounters no such problems with other passwords, like Cuddy's "partypants", which he calls "a pretty obvious choice".
In the episode "Carrot or Stick", Chase admits that the password he used was 'password'.
Subverted when Rodney basically needs to hack into their own system.
Caldwell: We'll use my password.
Rodney: No, we'll use mine.
Caldwell: Why? Because you don't trust me?
Rodney: No, because it's a 26-digit alpha-numeric code that I may have to enter multiple times and I haven't gotten around to memorizing yours yet.
Subverted. In trying to access Dr. McKay's account to fix a computer error, Teyla laments about not knowing the password, and Sheppard responds with the following (see the quote). He reveals that the only reason McCay even entered it in his presence is because he didn't think "your typical grunt" would remember it. Unfortunately for Rodney, Sheppard has Mensa-level IQ
Sheppard(typing and speaking): One six four three one eight seven nine one nine six eight four two.
Sheppard: See? Doesn't take a genius.
Teyla: ... it doesn't?
Sheppard: Sixteen Forty Three is the year Isaac Newton was born; Eighteen Seventy Nine, Einstein, Nineteen Sixty Eight-
A warden in Days of Our Lives has "lockdown" as his password. To make matters worse, it's written on a sticky note in his desk.
An episode of Mission: Impossible had a former dictator's computer protected by two passwords. The first one? The dictator's own name. The second? Anything Goes, his favorite musical which he watches 24/7 and has posters of all over his office.
Justified in an episode of Hack when the characters are trying to use stolen ATM cards to get cash out of an ATM. Mike notes that the one thing the banks tell you not to make your PIN is your birthday, and reasons that they wouldn't do this unless some people actually did make their PIN their birthday. They try a number of cards before eventually discovering one whose PIN is the owner's birthday.
Subverted in Psych, where Shaun Spencer Sherlock Scans the room, and then correctly gives the password. When his friend expresses surprise, he points out that the password is written on the bottom of the (raised) computer, and he simply read the reflection on the CD case. Played straight when the clue to a safe code is the physical measurement of a man's wife (36-24-34).
When Scully needed to access Mulder's computer, it only took her a few guesses to come up with TRUSTNO1.
In "Memento Mori", Mulder and Kurt Crawford, a surprisingly friendly clone, try to hack into a system so that they could download some secret files about abducted women who were treated for cancer. Kurt does not have a clue, but Mulder picks up a snow globe with the word 'Vegreville' on it. Kurt types VEGREVILLE, and they are in.
In an episode of The Office, Dwight boasts that he has installed password protection on all his accounts to prevent identity theft. Jim asks if the password is 'Frodo.' Dwight immediately denies it, but starts furtively typing on his keyboard. Jim then asks if he'd just changed it to 'Gollum,' which Dwight denies again, before furtively typing some more.
When Dwight is (briefly) fired, Karen is given the job of going over all his accounts and files but finds that he has locked each one with a different password (each of which is a mythical beast of some kind)
In a later episode, the server goes down, and they need to figure out the password (set by an IT guy who had since been replaced), so after they unsuccessfully try some default ones, Dwight, not being Genre Savvy, quits trying to guess it and decides to brute force it (manually), starting with 0000000. Jim cuts him off after 0000001, and they go back to guessing swordfish-type passwords, which eventually works.
Micheal Scott: I remember when I heard it, I laughed but Pam got upset.
Kevin: Try 'bigboobs' (Jim trys it, nothing)
Dwight: Try it with a 'z'.
Jim: Ok, we're in.
A masked orgy in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is guarded by the password "orgy". (Or, as Danny DeVito puts it, "ooooooorrrrrgggggyyyyyy".) Of course, given the... rather low caliber of the participants, it doesn't look like they're in a hurry to turn anyone down.
The short-lived Tremors TV series featured a scene where circumstances force survivalist Burt Gummer to reveal that the password to his home/bunker's front door is the name of his long-departed ex-wife.
In an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the number keys on the safe each play a different note, and the code is "Three Little Maids From School Are We". The safe's owner being an avid Gilbert and Sullivan fan with posters to that effect.
Parker: Forty-two seconds. Hardison: What? Parker: To rob this bank. One security guard who's never fired his gun before, two closed-circuit cameras outside, one inside, and a Glenn-Reider safe built in the '50s whose default combination is the birthdate of the manager's wife! Get in, get out, forty-two seconds.
This trope was once both averted and invoked in "The Reunion Job." The mark's final password was impossible to crack, so the team spends the night implanting a new password via Subliminal Advertising for him to replace it with when Nate told him Elliot was in his office.
The code to Parker's home/warehouse is Sophie's real name. At that point in the series only three people knew it and they are all friends that she trusts.
In Cheers, Rebecca Howe's password into her corporation's computer system is "Sweet Baby," which is what she calls her millionaire boyfriend, Robin Colcord. He uses this to break into the computer system and indulge in some pretty extensive insider trading. Her reaction when she finds out is the unforgettable, "I am too stupid to live!"
In the pilot episode, when the password was the song the criminal used to fall asleep ("Enter Sandman")
Done very creepily in second season, when the password to a pedophile elementary school principal's computer was "save them"
In third season, the teenage criminal's password was his dead mother's name.
Penelope Garcia's password to get into a file on her computer was "Gilman Street", after the punk rock club in California, which Garcia may be a fan of.
JJ managed to guess the password of a teen's computer because the girl was a fan of vampires — the password was "Cullen". Reid didn't get the reference.
Another season three example, Hotch guesses the code to a deceased mans safe after correctly guessing that it was not his wife's birthday, but the U.S Marine corps birthday. The man in question was very proud of his military background. Granted, Hotch guessed wrong the first time, but still.
In "Hit/Run", Prentiss is trying to disable a bomb that has been put on Will. She's allowed three guesses and blows two before correctly deducing it's the name of the UnSub's partner/lover. Not that it really matters, as entering the code triggers a secondary activation forcing her to cut a wire instead. Fortunately, she deduces which one.
In Home Improvement, Tim does a Tool Time episode from his house about installing a home security system, by filming himself as he installs his own security system. First Al suggests using the name of a pet or loved one for the security system password, then Tim says his password on the air.
Tim: For instance, I picked "sabre saw".
Al: Perhaps now you'd like to choose a password that our viewing audience hasn't heard.
Tim: (pause) Perhaps. For all you criminals out there, it might not be another tool. It might be a car.
Subverted in Little Mosque on the Prairie, Rayyan tries to get into Amaar's voicemail trying obvious codes like "Amaar" and "Islam" but gives up when she realizes it's not going to work. Double Subverted when at the end of the episode Amaar enters in his password: Rayyan.
Knight Rider (2008) "Knight Fever": Sarah tries to crack the computer of a scientist she once dated. After a spiel about "512-bit encryption" making it impossible to break in, Mike correctly guesses that the password is "SARAH". Because, apparently, Sarah is such a hottie that anyone who had ever dated her would automatically spend the rest of his life obsessed over her. (Admittedly, this has been true of every former lover of Sarah's the audience has met.) Or the guy's just lazy.
An episode of Murder, She Wrote featured a deceased computer tycoon who set his PC's password to "OPENDOOR", on the arrogant assumption that nobody would expect him to use something so obvious. The protagonists stumble upon it through a sudden flash of insight.
Subverted in Power Rangers RPM when Dr K chose Ziggy's name as her password, based on the fact that everyone thought she hated him, when in fact, she seems to have feelings for him. In fact, it's possible she intentionally pretends to hate him so that no-one will guess the password. Then un-subverted when Summer guesses it anyway.
On one episode of The Secret World of Alex Mack Alex's father's supposedly "creative" password is easily guessed: it is his wife's name backwards. "Creative you ain't," his daughter says to herself upon figuring it out.
In an episode of Seinfeld the plot revolves around George's ATM code 'bosco'. In one scene Kramer almost guesses it by reasoning out George's personality and sweettooth.
On the tie-in website for Victorious, Robbie mentions that he tried to lock Rex out of the computer. Rex gets back on and then mentions that Robbie should have chose a better password than "Tori Vega loves me"
The super secret password protecting all research regarding the Virus is please. The resident genius over-thought and didn't think to try it himself.
On a related note, some episodes later, the tribe is at the lab they think might help them figure out the antidote - Jack and Dal try to get anything to happen with the computer system, but nothing does until Jack, again accidentally, discovers that the system is voice activated.
Lois and Clark does it at least twice: in one episode they successfully get into a Citizen Kane wannabe's computer with the password "Rosebud". In another Lex Luthor's illegitimate son is trying to hack into his dad's accounts. He suspects it's one of the names Lex planned to call his legitimate kids after he married Lois, before having a flash of insight that it's the name she chose: "Clark".
In a third example, Clark hacks into a program named "Valhalla" by using his super-speed to work his way through an alphabetical list of Norse Mythology names. In this case, Clark was overestimating the cleverness of the programmer, as it turns out he chose the most obvious name: "Odin".
In one episode, Lois hides a computer expert who's framed for a crime in her house. When she gets back, he's on her computer, so she reprimends him for hacking into it. But it turns out he didn't have to, he just correctly guessed her password to be "Superman".
It's played with in another episode. Lois and Clark are trying to break in into a warehouse, and Clark uses his heat vision to fry the numeric pad lock. When Lois asks how did he open the door, Clark claimed to have guessed the password to be an important date for the villain.
Season four has Dexter, suffering from short-term memory loss, remember that his password is "Harry", which is a name of his father. An odd choice for someone so concerned with secrecy.
In season eight episode, Dexer tries to get into his sister account. He tries 'PASSWORD', but it's not it. He remembers his sister colourful language and 'FUCKING PASSWORD' gets him in.
On an episode of NewsRadio, the station's owner, Jimmy James, successfully hacks into a reporter, Matthew's, stock-trading account using the password "cat" (Matthew is known to have several cats). In turn, Matthew successfully hacks into Jimmy James' bank account using the password "Mary Ann" (the name of the news director's mother, whom Jimmy is known to have a crush on).
Used in this episode of the Finnish comedy show Ilmisten Puolue or "People's Party". The party chairman, Tapsa, announces that the party's website has been hacked and vandalized. After some questioning, Tapsa admits that, due to his poor memory, he made the password "password" to remember it. After being told that it is the most obvious and overused password ever, he claims that he has changed it to something "unsolvable". Another party member immediately asks if the new password is "123456", which Tapsa confirms. Cue mass Face Palm.
In the Eureka episode where Allison takes over from Nathan as head of Global Dynamics, if you watch closely, you can see that her passcode is 867-5309.
Subverted in the BBC4 adaptation of Dirk Gently, in which the time machine self-destructs because the wrong password was entered.
In one episode of HustleThe Mark's password is the name of his dog. Who guards the warehouse with the laptop in it. And wears a name-tag. Except The whole thing is a set up: the laptop is a plant, the dog belongs to someone else, and that isn't even its real name!
In the Jonathan Creek episode "Satan's Chimney", a character named Vivian uses her own name as a password. Jonathan correctly deduces that the password was set up by someone else and that they wanted him to find the information it protected.
In the Midsomer Murders episode "Market for Murder", the password on the Reading Group's secret share market account is 'Gerald'; the name of the late husband of the group's founder (whom she could not go five minutes without mentioning in conversation).
In Andromeda, it turns out that the override code for Eureka Maru is "Shut up and do as I say."
In The Suite Life On Deck: Zack hacks into Cody's computer in order to steal one of his old essays. When he's asked for a password he quickly figures it out to be "Bailey", the name of Cody's girlfriend. Zack then mockingly comments on that "At least [Cody] has changed it from 'I Miss Mommy'".
The West Wing uses swordfish passwords twice. The secret of President Bartlett's MS is signified by "Sagittarius", and to get into the secret operation for foiling Haffley's stem cell vote is the Shave and a Haircut knock. Also in the seventh season, Leo's able to leak a tape using someone else's email because she uses her cat's name as a password.
In Leonardo, Piero de' Medici guards his "lightning box" with a Clock Punk security system involving a portcullis, a series of numbered levers, and a guillotine. The password is his birthday. The second time Leo tries to get past it, though, he's changed it ... to his son's birthday ... which is the same day, but a different year.
In an episode of MacGyver, Mac and Jack Dalton are coerced into breaking into a secure museum exhibit which Mac helped design, though Pete set the access code. They run through the standard gamut of obvious codes (such as Pete's birthday) to no avail. Jack then asks if Pete's has regular gambling numbers to which Mac replies "No, he likes golf...GOLF!". Mac then inputs what turns out to be the correct password: "Arnold Palmer's birthday. Pete's hero."
In an episode of White Collar Neal's girlfriend easily guesses the password to Neal's laptop since it is based on a piece of art Neal admires. Considering how easy to guess the password was, Neal should have been more Genre Savvy and not left the laptop just lying around. As an inversion at the beginning of the episode Neal figures out her ATM password which amazed her since it was a randomly generated number that had no connection to her. Neal cheated by observing what keys she pressed in a reflection.
Ruth expresses absolute shock that the Americans would use 1776 as the keypad code for a secure storage facility in their embassy.
And in Series 3 a major drug corporation is hacked because they never changed the default password on their system.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Educated Guess" features a man who has been raping his niece since she was 14. When the detectives find a lock box which they believe has evidence of this, they first try his birthday and then his wife's birthday to open it. Then they try his niece's birthday, which does open it.
In the episode, "The Hounds of Baskerville," Sherlock corrects guesses a Major's password to some top-secret CIA information as "Maggie", on the first try.
In the first episode, one person uses the name of her dead daughter as a password.
Irene Adler comes up with a four digit password that stumps Sherlock for months. It turns out to be SHER with the critical clue actually included on the "locked" screen. Sherlock lampshades this, noting that if she had just chosen a random alphanumeric code, her plan would have gone off without a hitch. Interestingly, he previously tries a password related to him ("221B"), which fails.
She also has her safe passcode as her body measurements. Sherlock works it out partly because she hints at it, and partly because he can tell what some of the numbers are based on the key usage. In any case, it's a blind as the safe contains a spring-trapped gun along with the actual valuable. Luckily Sherlock works that out as well.
In Being Human, George is a genius with an IQ in the 150s, but he admits that all of his internet passwords are 'password1'.
On Gossip Girl Nate's password has been "soccer" since the fifth grade.
On an episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the password to shut down some homicidal teddy bears is the word they keep repeating: "Destroy."
Subverted, played straight, and both times lampshaded in the Supernatural episode "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo".
While trying to hack into Frank's encrypted hard drive, Charlie thinks she found the password in the remarkably simple "WarGames" when this yields results. Then Frank's hard drive opens a program revealing that it's a false lead and taunts her.
Played straight while she's hacking into Dick Roman personal computer, which is locked by the password "W1nn1ng".
Tracy: Kenneth should have given you the code word. Jesse: What? Tracy: That's it!
In another episode, Liz guesses Jenna's Twitter password in one try. It's "Me69". (1969 is the year Jenna was born, as mentioned in a previous episode.)
In the Warehouse 13 episode "13.1", the password Hugo Miller uses to secure his groundbreaking AI is his cat's name. The length of time the password has been in the system accidentally makes this more secure, as everyone but Hugo has forgotten what the cat's name was. Fortunately for the agents, Hugo's accident left him very talkative.
In an episode of Scrubs Ted asks JD not to watch him type his password... then says it aloud as he's typing it (it's "alligator3").
In Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin, in trying to activate the manual override self-destruct mode on a Time Bomb missile to blow up an asteroid, is told that there are 100,000 possible 5-digit combinations. Of course, Alex gets it right on the first guess, with "1-2-3-4-5".
On Revenge, Emily's password for her laptop with the information about her father and the Graysons is "infinity," which is a particularly poor choice because she uses two interlocked infinity symbols ("infinity times infinity") as her personal symbol.
In The Blacklist, the FBI's super tough, uncrackable password in order to secure the prison for the notorious prisoner in FBI history is..."Romeo" (ref. "Anslo Garrick (Part 1)".
In one episode of Gilmore Girls, Emily tells Lorelei in utmost confidence the password to her panic room is "One... one... one... one... one...." It's the default code and she doesn't know how to change it. In a later episode, after Rory's come to move in with her, she repeats the same password and again warns never to tell anyone. Though Lorelei mocks her, neither one explains how easy it is to guess a default password.
Played sadly straight in an episode of Castle, where it's determined that a murdered businessman had a secret bank account... the password to which the businessman had written in pen on his chest... and it was a 6 digit number.
PHB is also confused by the fact that the computer always displays his passwords as a row of asterisks. Somebody suggests that he should use a row of asterisks as his password so he doesn't forget it.
One issue of The Far Side featured a group of gangsters being lead out of their hiding place by the police, and one of them gripes "I knew 'Shave and a Haircut' was a bad secret knock."
In a Sunday strip of Garfield, the titular character seems to have trouble remembering his password. The light bulb pops on over his head, and he types in seven characters. Jon pops up right behind him and says, "It's 'lasagna,' isn't it?" Upon which Jon is promptly tied up with the computer cord.
In one strip of Mother Goose and Grimm Grimmy has apparently used Mother Goose's credit card to buy a massaging chair. At Mom's horror Attila remarks:
Attila: Don't act so surprised, all your passcodes are his name.
Used in an episode of Adventures in Odyssey. Alex and Cal are trying to get information from the website of the community college where Alex's mother works, but it needs a password. Cal looks around, spots a sticky note nearby which says "Milk and eggs" and deduces that this must be the password. Alex says that that's his mom's shopping list, but Cal decides to try it anyway. Much to the chagrin of just about everybody except Cal, it works.
In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama Deimos, the Doctor's companion Tamsin accesses the power distribution centre of a Martian moonbase with the password "PASSWORD".
Played with in the Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm of Iron in which the "sacred chant of activation" used by the Tech Marines to launch a large missile (melta torpedo) is correctly guessed in frustration by one of the protagonists when he exclaims, "God damn it! Fire you worthless piece of fucking shit! FIRE!"
Dungeons & Dragons: As the Literature section points out, DnD has a spell called "Knock" which opens pretty much any lock that isn't magically protected. However, one 3rd edition lock had a clever inversion of this trope where opening the first locking mechanism would close the second locking mechanism. Only a high DC Open Lock check could break it.
Quest for Glory IV acknowledges this trope by teaching a thief character that people are really dumb about their passwords, and is usually an object or picture nearby. For example, the password for a Filch-brand Safe is... "Filch."
At least it's pretty non-obvious: the safe has only every other letter on it (A, C, E, G, I, K), while there are blank spaces in between. So it's not immediately obvious what the code should be.
Another part of the game has the player investigating the crypt of the Borgov family, which has a hidden passageway leading to the Big Bad's castle. In the middle of the floor is a relief of the Borgov family crest, which features a rainbow pattern on one side. Pressing the colors Blue, Orange, Red, Green, Orange, and Violet opens a panel which contains the key you need.
Guess what the password in Resident Evil: Code: Veronica is. No, go on. Guess. Justfied because the base was meant to be blown up easily — so no one would find the family secret.
Passwords in Deus Ex are usually single words... and can often be found on various notes in the same building (if not the same room) as the computer in question. Locked in the cabinet sometimes, but that's easily solved with a lockpick.
This gets lampshaded later on when many of the emails you find on PDAs start scolding the minions for keeping the passwords in easily found locations. It's around that point that you stop finding them so easily. The codes you do find tend to be revealed less straightforwardly; in one late-game example the password reindeerflotilla is found by digging through a pseudo-Linux (BlueOS, apparently) install crash log.
The Nameless Mod is slightly better at this as many of the easy passwords are explicitly temporary (like after a server crash) and explicitly easy as they are just tests. The passwords that are really insecure are frequently lampshaded
Perhaps the most extreme (but little-known) example of this, though, is that Anna Navarre's killphrase needs to be retrieved from two computers in the UNATCO base. Ideally you're supposed to hack the computers, or use the login/password combination "demiurge/archon" that Paul gives you if he survived. In fact, though, the self-destruct key for UNATCO's incredibly expensive badass cyborg killing machine can be found by logging into the relevant computers with "guest/guest".
Alex Jacobson: I installed UNATCO's security myself. It's unbeatable.
Alex himself has a storage room in his office which is locked by a keypad. The code is "2001" which is prominently displayed on a huge poster right next to the door.
Lee Hong, who is repeatedly stated to not be very bright, has set the access code of his apartment to "1234".
Human Revolution has many, many bad password choices by the standards of today. The one for Adam's office computer is "mandrake" (which was chosen by Pritchard, a genius computer security specialist), and example mook passwords include "morpheus", "stinger", "index", and "macro". Like the original, passwords can often be found in Pocket Secretaries near the associated computer. One (well-hidden) PDA even has a dozen of the logins and passwords for the Detroit Police Department computers on it.
A computer in one of the Sarif Industries offices has a password listed nowhere in the game... except on a post-it note to the left of the computer reading, "Password: "Eclipse"". A lampshade is immediately hung on this when checking said computer's email. One of the emails is from the network administrator Prichard talking about keeping your work computer secure and closes with "ABOVE ALL, DO NOT WRITE DOWN YOUR PASSWORD!" Another computer nearby doesn't need a password to get in, and there's another Prichard email that closes with "ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER TO LOCK YOUR MACHINE BEFORE LEAVING YOUR DESK!"
Human Revolution lampshades this at one point; a homeless women will tell you that she overheard one cop berating another for choosing 'patriotism' as the password for the armory door. You can later break into the police station and loot their armory for some nice guns; they never bothered to change the password to anything else.
You can actually come across a PDA inside the Omega Ranch facility containing a password that a computer tech sent to a soldier because the idiot kept constantly asking him what the password was. Another critical password is left lying underneath a couch by a maid, who in the same PDA swore to her boss that she would guard it with her life.
Played painfully straight in a subplot of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. In order to find out whether Black Widow has turned traitor, you need to figure out the password to the personal S.H.I.E.L.D. accounts of both Nick Fury and Black Widow herself. In both cases, it's the name of a friend, and thus easily guessed. And this is despite them both being top-row members of an international anti-terror organization!
The one password in EarthBound was not of the "easily guessed" type, but was ridiculous nonetheless: It consisted of waiting three minutes. Who would guess that? This is later subverted by another character asking for the password. As the Player Character does not answer, he (or it) attacks ("someone so quiet is either extremely shy, or extremely dangerous").
Played with in Uplink: administrators have random sequences of characters for passwords, which furthermore tend to change just after the player hacks the system. Civilians, however, use regular words for their bank account passwords. Another note is that there are two password-breaking programs available to buy in the game. One is the Dictionary Hack, and the other is simply called Password Breaker. Nobody actually uses the dictionary program as it won't always get you into a system, whereas the simple brute-force Password Breaker will get you in 99.99% of the time.
There are four passwords in Uplink that never change.
The accounts the player actually uses personally.
InterNIC, which is always a random word selected when your player account is created.
A Shout-Out to WarGames, and will always have Joshua as the password and zero security. It's also the only password in the game that can't be cracked by the Password Breaker program - you need to get the reference.
The testing system always has the password rosebud.
Chrono Cross has an odd example of a password. At one point, the party (disguised as guards) meet another set of guards in front of a treasure room. They are asked the password, and given some logical-sounding choices. None of them work; the password is entered by just standing there until the guards acknowledge that silence is the password.
Subverted in Second Sight. When the player attempts to use a computer without knowing the password (found out via scripted events) then John Vattic (the main character) will enter generic "stupid" passwords such as password. Many of the actual passwords are quite poor (for example a soldier in Siberia has "snow" as his password, although it took a psychic reading his mind to find out).
Team Fortress 2: In "Meet The Spy", the password to a padlock is... 1111. Then the BLU Heavy knocks down the door before either the BLU Soldier and the BLU Scout could open the door anyway, indicating that just about any weapon used by the cast would smash the door open. It doesn't help that the '1' key on the keypad is the only key that's less than spotless, if you look. If '1111' doesn't work, then you just haven't pressed it the correct number of times, apparently. However, this doesn't stop the Soldier from getting confused midway through. "One, one, one, er... one."
Final Fantasy VI: You're asked for a password, and your choices are "Rosebud," "Courage," and "Failure." A nearby NPC will tell you the answer in exchange for some "cider," but since you're part of an underground rebellion against an Evil Empire, take a wild guess. It's actually a little more interesting in the original Japanese, where the password was "Wild Rose." Anyone who had played Final Fantasy II would instantly recognize it, since both games deal with taking out an Evil Empire, making it a quick Shout-Out to the earlier installment of the series.
In Legend of Mana, you meet a band of pirate penguins who ask you "What be the password?". And the password is? "What", of course! If you use that as your guess, the penguins are ready to accept you as one of their own until the captain points out that you're rather obviously not a penguin.
Lampshaded in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: passwords for computers are usually related to the owner in some way, except for a programmer, who laments in an email about a superior's password being his name backwards.
In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, this is averted in 1994, where a password is a string of numbers and letters, lampshaded in 2052, where Amy accesses Crow's computer, saying, "Anyone who uses his own name as a password deserves to be hacked", and played straight when four Cortezes have to open a "Dual-Key" security door, and the passwords are "banana" and "lollipop".
The early PC game D/Generation featured a computer terminal where you had to extract a password for a door from the rant of a crazy hostage. It could be one of 2 or 3 things, all of which were just one, simple English word like "pestilence."
Xehanort from Kingdom Hearts made the password to his important research-results concerning the "Door to Darkness" (DTD) the names of the seven Princesses of Hearts, who were known to ANYONE who may have been interested in the research. Ha ha, how clever of the seeker of darkness. Well, at least there's no evidence of the order the names are supposed to be written in (Sora still manages to guess it somehow, despite not exactly being a genius). Later, to prevent the Master Control Program from accessing it, Tron changes the password to something even easier! The most frequently said thing in the game: Sora, Donald and Goofy. In that order.
His mentor Ansem the Wise isn't much better. His password is his favorite flavor of ice cream, sea-salt (a real-life treat that the game's director got at Disneyland one day, making this a Mythology Gag). To his credit, Sora and co. wouldn't have known the password if they hadn't gotten a deliberate clue from Riku a few hours earlier.
Players who bothered to talk to Scrooge throughout the course of the game would also have it figured out, as he's had the ice cream and is attempting to recreate the flavor.
And, of course, there's two kickers. One's that the other two choices you have don't sound exactly palatable (Liver pickle ice cream, anyone?), and the other's if you bother to talk to King Mickey in that room. He'll tell you that the password is "Sea sa-" before deciding that you're smart enough to figure it out.
The passwords being guessed in the right order is potentially justified; the Final Mix version showed a bonus scene involving Xemnas inputting a password consisting of the original names of the Organization's founding members, each in their own seperate box, raising the possibility that the order the names are inputted isn't particularly important (reinforced by the fact that the group guessed one of the other passwords, one consisting of seven different names, in one go).
Just to drive the point home that absolutely everyone has a lacking understanding of proper passwords in this universe, the manga adaptation form 358/2 Days shows Demyx secretly messing around with Saïx's computer, all the while calling him a moron and mocking him about not changing his password. Unfortunately for him, Saïx is tech-savvy enough to have his webcam record any unauthorized usage of his computer. A few chapters later Demyx promptly gets his ass kicked by Saïx, who also informs him that he finally changed his password. The fact that Demyx of all people somehow knew the password to the Organization's second-in-command's personal computer probably speaks for itself.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has this in the first area. To stop the machines going at the Cooper Vault, Sly has to go in and input a three-digit password. However, the person who originally set the password was a stupid Mook, so it remained "123," much to the Big Bad's consternation. All the other safes in the other games were better at passwords, but they left clues to the codes everywhere. Paintings, scattered bottles, and the enemy you're going up against is a master thief who has a penchant for completely cleaning out an area.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge features a sequence during which, in order to progress with a certain portion of the storyline, you have to win at a simple spin-the-wheel gambling game. To do this, you have to get insider info from the Gambler's Guild (the correct number to bet on isn't even on the list of responses unless you've gotten it from the man behind the door). To get this info, you have to give the password. The thing is, it's unorthodox, but depending on how quick you are at making connections, you can figure it out watching it given once. The man behind the door will hold up some fingers and say "If this is X (where X is between 1 and 5), then what's this?" and hold up a different number of fingers. The answer is however many fingers he held up when he gave the number X.
In System Shock 2, a lot of information is found in discarded audio logs, and of course the game contains a smorgasbord of logs starting with "So I changed the password to 1234..."
Speaking of BioShock, the password for Australian supervisor Kyburz's office is the date of Australia Day. In case you don't know it, there's a huge poster with the date right outside it.In US date format's month/day rather than pretty much the rest of the world's day/month. Even when sold in Australia!
Similarly, in both Crusader games, every time you find a locked door, somewhere nearby will be an unlocked PC displaying an email informing the owner of the PC what the password to the door in.
At one point in Super Mario RPG, villainous Booster speaks a password to open a door. In an interesting variation, the password is whatever you, as the player, named your save file. Also, on the SunkenShip, there's the locked door leading to the King Kalimari fight - in this case, the password is always 'pearls'.
Used in all manner of fashions in Fallout 3. The hacking minigame involves educated guesses involving plaintext words (The computer tells you how many letters there are and which ones are right and in the right place, i.e., lets you play Mastermind with the password system), and passwords that get given to you run the gamut from the name of the daughter of the Vault Overseer to a hexadecimal pointer string. The last mission even ends with you inputting a security code that's never told to you outright but you've been hearing throughout the storyline. Bad Wolf?
The same case in Fallout: New Vegas. While seemingly the HELIOS ONE password is super long, those who understand the code can notice that it is not that secure at all. Tabitha also use the password of 123456789 for Raul's cell. Finally, the REPCONN password is 'ICE CREAM', which can be correctly guessed by the player character with very high luck or very low intelligence. In fact, the Override Command for The Strip's securitrons is '1C 3C R34 M'. In the case of Raul's cell, he purposely made the password simplistic since he thought that no one would ever bother reading his journal entries in the nearby terminal that outright state the password.
In Dead Money, the password to the basement elevator is a line from the in-game song "Begin Again", which only works with Vera's voice, so either Christine, who has had her voice reconfigured to that of Vera, has to say the words, or you have to play a holotape found in the dresser.
Halo 3 has a funny version of this as an Easter Egg. A marine is banging on a door, demanding to get in, but he doesn't know the password. There are three different exchanges, depending on the difficulty level, and they are all voiced by the guys from Red vs. Blue. Transcripts and mp3 files here. Snippet:
Oh, man... I forgot!
I forgot the password!
See, that was almost right! Ah, see, the password BEGINS with "I forgot", but ends differently.
One dungeon in Wild ARMs: Alter Code F has the group held up by Zed until they can give him the password. He goes away when you just tell him "password".
In Sonic Adventure 2, the code to access both Project: Shadow and to fire the Eclipse Cannon (a weapon capable of destroying a third of the moon) is Maria. Even if this wasn't the name of the granddaughter of the scientist in charge of both projects, it's still only five letters, and three japanese characters, since Robotnik clearly presses three keys, one for each syllable. Of course, this may have been intentional.
In Oddworld Stranger's Wrath, there's a Black Market Store in which Stranger needs a password to get in. Obviously, he doesn't know, but can get the password from one of the Clackers nearby. The password is Molasses, but he still says it wrong.
Shopkeeper: What's the password?
Stranger: Uh, Mole's Ass?
Shopkeeper: Ehhh close enough
Unintentional example in the Bleach DS fighting game series. Money can be unlocked using three passwords that are written on the touch screen, which in the second game are either an open jar, a pawprint, or a poorly drawn rabbit. For people outside of Japan, there's no way of knowing what the password is, as it was in a Japanese magazine exclusive. Furthermore, the game reads the markings on the screen with an incredible lack of accuracy. However, making random scribbles will actually count as having the password before even drawing it.
Parodied in Forum Warz Episode 2 where the password to access the Pentagon turns out to be "asdf". It doesn't work until it's revealed to you, however.
One of the Nancy Drew computer games has a combination lock of the case's victim able to be opened by looking at a phone and using the numbers that correspond to his name, Jake. More complex then some of the examples but painfully simple at the same time.
And of course there's the granddaddy of stupid password in games, played for laughs in Space Quest 2 where one of the aliens tells you that when you're ready to open the passage, "just say the word." The passage is opened for you when you simply enter the command "WORD".
In Space Quest 1, the code to activate the Star Generator is 6858, the last four digits of Sierra On-Line's phone number.
In Heavy Rain, the Origami Killer's password turns out to be the name of his brother's paper dogs: Max, something you learn just a few minutes prior to needing it.
In Final Fantasy VII, the mayor lets you guess a password to get something extra. It's multiple choice, and he tells you you can guess it by interpreting some clues involving the letters in the reports on the shelves of the library. The password is randomized each playthrough, but it always turns out to be one of the following: BEST, KING, BOMB, MAKO. If you get it on the first try, you also get an "Elemental" Materia as a bonus.
Phantasmagoria 2 Curtis's password on his work computer is "Blob", the name of his pet rat whom he constantly fawns over and has a huge framed photograph of on his desk. Yeah, that's not obvious at all. Then again, his boss isn't much better making his password "Carpediem", a phrase he has on an obvious plaque mounted on his wall.
A variation: Manfred von Karma set his PIN to 0001, in his own words, "Because I'm number one!" Phoenix immediately notes that it's pretty dumb to announce it in a packed courtroom.
Damon Gant's police ID is apparently 7777777. It's also the password to the safe where he keeps the missing SL-9 evidence, his means of blackmailing Lana into cooperating so that her sister won't be framed.
In the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game, the owner of the boat rental shop, Yanni Yogi, witness and accused of the DL-6 incident, set his safe combination to "1228", which directly corresponds to December 28th, the date the DL-6 incident happened. Not made better at all by the fact that he taught his pet parrot, who is located just next to the safe, to recite the number when asked.
The combination of a briefcase in Barrow Hill is the license plate number of its owner's car, which you find crashed and abandoned within the first half-hour of play. The only tricky bit is that there's an X in the plate code, so the number of digits is only right if you multiply.
One of the puzzles in Planetarium involves figuring out a password from a riddle. The password is "password". The riddle giver even lampshades this by saying that they need to change "the answer" every time someone figures it out.
In Breath of Fire III, when Momo access a laboratory computer which requires a password, she assumes people use their friend's name as their password and correctly guesses "Pelet" (the lab creator) as the password. Lampshaded for being little too obvious. The other passwords require searching the lab which are "Repsol" (Momo's father), "AA" (Project) and the third is a little trickier having to know the right combination of five numbers.
In Covert Action, the passwords are always simple English words, and searching the area will generally give you a few clues, in the form of a random letter from the word. You could keep looking for clues until you have the entire word, but this is unnecessary because you can also guess. Of course, guessing incorrectly sets off the alarm.
In Impossible Mission, the password is always a nine-letter English word (and there are only a dozen or so possible options anyway). However, in this game you're not allowed to guess, and you have to recover each letter one by one by stacking oddly shaped code cards.
In Batman: Arkham City a password used among Jim Gordon and his precinct cops is "Sarah", the name of his second wife.
Also, all the passwords you have to crack with the Cryptographic Sequencer are this. If they're for progression in the story, they are related to the owner of the place (Penguin and Hugo Strange are common offenders); if it's for Riddler Trophies, it's always something to do with brains or something (given that Riddler's an Insufferable Genius); and so on. The only thing that can slightly complicate this is that you don't have to type them, but tune the Sequencer to form the word.
The passwords in Fantasy Quest seem random enough, but you have to question why they're written on notes nailed to trees. (The sequel answers the question.)
Parodied in Grim Fandango. Manny attempts to hack Domino's computer using phrases like "Golden Boy" but fails to guess the password.
Hopkins' computer password in Hopkins FBI is his last name.
The principal's PC in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Technically not the password, but a series of answers to security questions to tell it to reset the password. The answers are found all around the office.
Discussed, exploited, and played straight in Danganronpa: When Kyouko finds a password lock, the first thing she does is try every piece of data on the person who set it she could find. It turns out to be the name of his daughter - Kyouko - but since she hated the man and thought he abandoned her, she never even considered the possibility.
Alex Mason's password on the computer terminal in Call of Duty: Black Ops is "password". There's also an email from Hudson, telling Mason to change the password or he'll change it for him. None of the others are much better, either - John F. Kennedy's is "lancer" (his Secret Service code name), the unseen Dr. Adrienne Smith and Richard Nixon use the names of their pets, etc. - to the point that once you know a password other than Mason's it's relatively easy to figure out the passwords for every character who has an account on the terminal just by reading emails.
Dishonored has a number of safes, most of which can be opened using fairly obvious clues from the notes found near the safes. The art dealer Bunting is a notable exception. Fortunately he has a pain fetish and is already bounded and blindfolded in a torture device at a brothel. A few electrical zaps past his limit gets him to give up the combination.
In Borderlands 2, the password that will open the door to let you gain access to The Angel is "I love you." The only minor technical problem is that the password must be spoken by Handsome Jack himself or by one of his body-double clones, the door is protected by a heavily fortified bunker, and the bunker is protected by a disentegration field. So perhaps a weak password isn't too much of a problem here...
The final puzzle in Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time requires you to figure out the password to the villain's computer system. It turns out to be the name of his/her favorite sport.
Mega Man Battle Network usually hides 'secure' passwords in the form of security certificates and keys that MegaMan.EXE needs to retrieve, but in a few instances, he merely needs to punch in simple 3-or-4-digit combinations, or sometimes run across proportionately huge floor tiles to spell out the passwords, which tend to either be very easy to guess via dictionary attacks, like 'SPIDER' or 'BADGER' or 'YESTERDAY'; sometimes, hints will be given to him by very helpful programs.
Several passwords (in investigation or sabotage missions, usually) in The Secret World are written on nearby notes, or use relatively easy to find clues. (All passwords have hints that can be researched, the research being a major challenge of the missions, but a lot of them avoid this trope be being obscure and difficult to figure out.)
iOS game Hack Time has this as its main way of solving puzzles. You log into somebody's account and look to see they've sent an e-mail to somebody else talking about "how much you love X". While X will generally take a little bit of figuring out (and maybe a Google search), their favorite thing will almost always be their password for two systems. Later you also have to figure out an authorization code...which is easily figured out by going to an in-game website and putting in their password.
In the first training level of Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, the keycode to open the locked door is 989, after 989 Studios.
In Red vs. Blue, Sarge of the Red Army seems to be prone to this.
Sarge programmed their jeep's remote driving system to respond to a secret password. This is revealed to be 'Drive'. Later, when accessing a secured data transmission, he gives the password as 'Password'. This may be par for the course for the militaries involved...
Grif made the password for letting people in 'Password' (and was chastised by Simmons, saying it need to be 2 letters and 2 numbers at least- so his would be '2Dumb2Live'). Lopez's access code was 'Access Code', while the activation code for Grif's armour to self destruct is 'Activation Code'... keep it simple.
Grif:(After Simmons guesses the password) It's the perfect password! No one would ever get it!
Happens in "Reconstruction", too. When Agent Washington calls Command to get the code word that will let the Reds know he's legit:
In "Oceans Unmoving", all the teknocon gear in timeless space is on factory defaults. Since only one person in timeless space knows the factory defaults for this stuff, it hardly matters. Justified by the fact that only the people who should be able to access the teknocons were in timeless space in the first place. Teknocon one had a different password, which was intended for the hacker to access.
Another example is when Sasha manages to hack into Riffs computer. The password... "beer".
In "Kiki's Virus", Dr. Crabtree has been using the names of her lab animals as passwords. The second one still takes a bit of figuring out, because Dr. Schlock initially assumes the relevant name to be spelled "Burro" instead of "Borough".
In Achewood, Roast Beef travels to Yahoo's headquarters to hack into the mainframe and delete incriminating information on Ray. He changes the chief security officer's password from 'yahoo' to 'ru5tybike5' and sneaks out. ("Animal changes my password! Why this always happens to ME?!")
At the chocolate factory, the password for the machinery is "Creamy center".
Double subversion in Kevin & Kell; Lindesfarne needs to get Vin's password to access his computer and alter his data to prevent him from exposing Domestication, but the obvious password, "die_rudy_die"(based on Vin's known hatred for Rudy), doesn't work; he changed it to "mr_and_mrs_vin_and_dale_vulpen", as he had recently developed a crush on Corrie (who was masquerading as a wolf named Dale). Rather than guess that password, she has to date him in order to get it.
Aby's e-mail password was "C4TD00R". And she never changed it when she left her ex, so he still had access to her account.
In thisThe Order of the Stick strip, the password to access Girard's hidden hologram just happens to be a series of words that would come up in casual conversation if you knew what you were looking for... though it's probably meant to be that way. It wasn't a password to the location —it was to activate a booby trap, kicking it over to Justified Trope. He even says it. It was specifically designed to activate if someone was casually looking for it. He just assumed that only one person would do this, a less relevant assumption. But that's another Trope.
Ciem Webcomic Series. Candi Levens finally makes a lucky guess that the password to the Viron Library's Meethlite agenda archives is "DieLevens." The Meethlites are clearly big on hatred, but small on creativity and security.
In one arc of College Roomies from Hell!!!, Roger refuses to let Margaret into the boy's apartment unless she guesses a password. Her (correct) answer: Let me in now, dork face.
In The Kenny Chronicles the password on Funky's robot (now technically Kenny's robot) was "kennysux".
Tim Eldred's secondStarBlazers webcomic lampshaded it nicely: Desslok, Evil Emperor, sneaks his passwords to his trusted lieutenant, Talan, who snarks that the ones generated by a computer are good - but all the ones Desslok chose himself are variations on the name "Starsha", Desslok's dead girlfriend. "Why am I not surprised..."
Leia: R2, decrypt the coordinates [to the Rebel base]. Authorization code 1-1-A. R2-D2: That is a terrible, terrible code. I didn't even try any codes less than eight characters! (beat panel) Not that I seriously tried decrypting it.
In Captain SNES, Samus rigs Eggplant Wizard with a chip that shocks him if he steps out of line, makes an awful vegetable pun, or if she says "Sweet Christmas". She chose these words because she figured no one would ever say them together accidentally. Unbeknownst to her, these are the first two words of Alex's Catch Phrase.
In Gunnerkrigg Court, when the password to turn a random door into a door to the Realm of the Dead is "I ... am ... a ghoooost!" The Rant notes "Anybody can use this password on any door. You just have to say it properly." (And, of course, we the readers can't tell how Mort is saying it...)
Ashens: Oh. Surprised Hitler didn't think of that.
Steve: He did, but he left the capslock on.
Ashens: Ah, common mistake.
In one Agents Of Cracked episode, there is a scene where Michael can't remember his password. He tells Dan to try "swordfish", to which Dan replies "It's never swordfish, why do you always guess swordfish?"
In episode 30 of Freeman's Mind, Freeman encounters a keypad outside a launch facility. After fiddling with it a bit, he gets in with the password "1234". He immediately lampshades the stupidity of that particular password:
Freeman: You know, as much as I'd like to claim this is the result of me being a genius, it's more that someone else was not. We probably spent tens of millions on this security system and paid our janitor minimum wage to install it.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Melvin (Marrik's Super-Powered Evil Side) is trying to get into a locked door. After trying the only 4 letter words in his vocabulary (Kill, Stab, and Pain) he begins the usual method for cracking the code. 1111. 1112. 1113. 1114. The password? 9999.
And when he finally opens it...there's another door behind it, after which he apparently gives up. Later on it's revealed said door had the password "OPEN".
Spoofed in a small article in The OnionAd Nauseum Vol.14, where a 14-year-old guesses his parents' AOL password on the first try, because it's the name of the family pet. Lampshaded by the boy himself, who says he can't believe they would use something that obvious.
In SpongeBob SquarePants Mr. Krabs has a voice activated password for a door that will only open, when he says "Open", and much to his dismay it does.
An episode of American Dad! has Roger end up hiring a hitman to kill himself (don't ask), and tried to give said hitman the password "password" to call it off, which didn't work. It's "password1". "I require both letters and numbers," says the hitman.
In the episode "In Country... Club" (the one with the Vietnam re-enactment) Stan's code for the TV is 4812, which is Roger's pants size (much to Roger's surprise and dismay).
In DuckTales, Gyro Gearloose set the activation word for the Gizmoduck suit to "blabbering blatherskite", because he thought nobody used that expression. Oh, how wrong he was....
Later on, the suit shrinks in the wash, and the suit's password is also shrunk to a simple "blah".
In The Fairly OddParents, Timmy needs to get the password to a special cage belonging to "Catman", a superhero who had outstayed his welcome as the Crimson Chin's temporary replacement, to rescue his Fairy Godparents, disguised as dogs. Timmy then ponders what a man as deep and thoughtful as Catman would choose... three guesses what he came up with.
In Fillmore!, a large number of scooters are easily stolen, because the thieves know 9 out of 10 of kids' locker combinations are their birthdays.
Averted in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. The technologically incompetent Mr. Herriman, setting up a security system, is told to enter a random passcode. He proceeds to cover his eyes and mash the keyboard for about a minute straight. They never figure out how to unlock it again.
Its worth elaborating that Herrimen misunderstood the instruction to mean that the password had to be random every time it was entered, much to Frankie's exasperation.
Kim Possible: Wade needs to find the password to override a robot. It turns out to be the same word the robot kept saying over and over.
Virgil: Oh dear. It will take me days to decipher this.
Norman: Allow me! (attacks the door and gets electrocuted) Ho! Aah!
Computer: I'm sorry. "Ho, Aah" is not the correct access code. Please try again.
Max: Maybe we should knock?
Computer: "Knock Knock" is the correct access code. (opens door) Please come in, and wipe your feet.
In The Simpsons, a secret government tape is hidden in a photo booth. The password? "Cheese."
In "Bart the General":
Herman: What's the password?
Abe: Let me in, you idiot!
Herman: Eh, right you are.
WordGirl was easily able to guess the password into Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's computer: "mustard." Fortunately, he changed it immediately— and she was able to guess correctly again once she found out the name of his childhood pet, thereby saving the day.
In the ALF cartoon, when the evil "fortune smeller" Madam Pokipsi [sic] changes his friends Rick and Skip into a sandwich and a soda, Gordon must find the password to her crystal ball to change them back. Guess what it is? "Manilow. No, that's to summon bad music. It's 'swordfish' — I think. Yeah, the password is definitely 'swordfish.'"
In The Secret Saturdays Doyle Blackwell is attempting to hack into the mercenary he is apprenticing under, Van Rook, who happens to be a money hungry cheapskate. What is the password?
Doyle: Oh, you've gotta be kidding me.
(Types in '$')
In King of the Hill Bobby wants to watch FOX so he and Joseph can see what this "Daytona 500" they've heard about is, but Hank has a block on it. Now, Hank's a complicated guy who has no strange obsessions that would make his password completely obvious... oh wait, yes he does (propane, for those who don't watch the show). Unfortunately, the Daytona 500 wasn't what they were expecting (it was just cars driving around a track with nothing exploding, no hot women, and the 500 wasn't 500 of something awesome).
In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Comet Kermillian," Perry starts hacking into Doofenshmirtz's computer, which doesn't worry the doctor, since he's sure Perry will never guess his "super secret password." Which turns out to be "Doofalicious."
In the episode "Where's Pinky?", Dr. Doofenshmirtz references the Tron example above by overriding a City Hall security door with "reindeer flotilla" on the first guess.
In the episode "War is the H-Word", a planet destroying bomb is installed inside Bender and set to activate when Bender says the word "ass" (established as the word Bender uses the most). The crew cannot remove the bomb so Prof. Farnswoth programs in a password which Bender would never use in everyday conversation. Of course, Bender takes this as a challenge...
Bender: So, what's the word?
Hermes: We think it's better if you don't know.
Bender: Oh, come on. I'm not gonna say it. Please? Ooh, is it "please"?
Bender: Hm, words I never say. Oh, I know! "Thanks"!
Leela: Bender, stop trying to destroy the world.
Bender: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Is it "sorry"? No. "Fun-derful"? Uh, "non-alcoholic"?
Amy: Quit it!
Hermes: Stop it, mon!
Zoidberg: Enough already!
Bender: "Compassion"? "Shrimptoast"? "Antiquing"?
Big explosion sounds
Bender: I'm OK
In "The Luck of the Fryrish", Fry goes back to his old home to get something out of the safe. Its combination is "3".
Both subverted and averted in Totally Spies!. Clover lampshades this trope when trying to figure out the password to shut down a machine, typing in obvious choices. They all fail. Then Sam unplugs the machine, shutting it down.
But they also have plenty of fails this way, too. Some kid who we're supposed to believe is this amazing computer geek in the episode Silicon Valley Girls has this evil hacking AI called 'CHAD'. Guess what the password to the AI is? 'CHAD'. Sort of obvious.
A Running Gag in Archer is that everyone's password is "guest," even the ISIS mainframe. Archer guesses it on his first try.
Archer: Let's try..."guest"...No WAY. Jesus Christ. That is just...babytown frolics.
In Gargoyles, Demona, the only member of her clan who was actually awake for the past few centuries, used "alone" as her password. Although it should be noted, no one guessed it. They had to use magic to force her to reveal what it was.
Used twice in Johnny Test. In the episode "The Dog Days of Johnny", the password to Susan and Mary's lab is "Gil" (the name of the boy next door, which they both have a crush on). In the episode "Johnny Escape From Bling Bling Island", the password to Eugene's escape pod is "Susan" (who he has a crush on). In both cases, Johnny instantly guesses the password because it's so obvious.
Apparently Mary and Susan realized this, so they changed the password(s). Yet Johnny, and even Lila, were able to figure it out, and it still involves Gil.
In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, one ship's computer has the password "rutabega", which is bad enough, but it goes the extra mile by openly telling the password to people if they annoy it for long enough.
In a nod to this trope, an episode of Robot Chicken (Season 2, Episode 10) was entitled, "Password: Swordfish."
From Martin Mystery, Mom's password is "Mom." Until Java suggests it, nobody even thinks of it, considering it too obvious, and try Latin phrases instead.
In the The Penguins of Madagascar episode "King Me", Kowalski uses a new periscope to spy on the zoo. One of the things he sees is Alice's security code 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 ... 2.
On Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Turtles are entering a garbage-processing plant without authorization, and the voice-activated computer asks them for the password. Raphael quips, "Password? We don't need no stinking password!" The computer responds, "'Stinking' is the correct password," and lets them in.
In "Gribbler's Quest," Bugs changes the password on his computer so Daffy won't go online shopping but Daffy correctly guess the new password is "carrot". So Bugs changes it again and Daffy correctly guess it was "carrot1". By the end of the episode, Bugs new password is "carrot3", which Daffy correctly guessed again.
In Wander over Yonder, Peepers accidentally activates the ship's self-destruct button and has to beg and cry to his boss to fix it. Hater, seemingly angry that Peepers was unable to bring him Wander (after Peepers bragged about capturing him) remains silent until the last minute where he mumbles his catchphrase:
Lord Hater: Lord Hater . . . Number One . . . Superstar
Justified in the novelization (at least, in the audio drama of the novelization) of the first half of Star Wars: Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. When Kyle Katarn and his droid WeeGee need to get into an Imperial ground transport, Kyle informs WeeGee that the access code is 0 0 0 0. The code works, and an astonished WeeGee asks how his master knew. Kyle, a former Imperial, explains that all such vehicles have a default four 0 code from the factory. According to regulations, all officers are supposed to change the code once they get a new vehicle, but most never bother.
Eddie Izzard once jokingly complained about the depiction of computers in Hollywood films in his 1997 stand-up "Glorious".
Breaking into the Pentagon computer ... double-click on yes. Hm, password protected. Erm.... "Jeff". I knew there was a back door. Because the guy who programmed it was called Jeff Jeff DeJeff, born on the first of Jeff, nineteen-jeffy-jeff. so I typed in "Jeff" and hey!
A commercial for the voice-activated Girl Tech Password journal is demonstrated with the password "girls rule". Interestingly, a boy eavesdrops on the password and tries to use it himself. However, thanks to voice recognition technology, he is denied access despite getting the password right.
In the comic, Omega Zell has "Fantöm" that basically all his guilmates know to be his idol, as his password.
In the webseries and novels, Sparadrap has his password be his favorite dessert, for which the French word is "Flan"... and has to ask his younger brother to remind him what it is in the webseries version of the scene.
Physicist, continual prankster, and hobbyist safecracker Richard Feynman discovered that many of the safes at Los Alamos during the war (which, after all, was only the place where they designed the atomic bomb) had been left on their default combinations. Not just that, but if you casually leaned against an open safe you could feel the last of the three numbers. Moreover, though the safe offered the numbers 00-99 the number 03 could be opened by 01-05, thus instead of 100x100x100 possibilities there where only 20x20x20, or, for birthdays, 3x7x9 (assuming everyone was under 45). AND passnumbers were often written down. The "obvious" response of his bosses when he told them how terrible their security was: A memo to everybody saying "Don't let Feynman near your safe." His boss discovered Feynman's safecracking skills after he broke into all the filing cabinets in his office and left silly notes in them. The first one said "Richard was here." The second said "Richard was here too." The third said, "It's easy when the combinations are all the same." Guess which order the boss found the notes in.
In the early days of NORAD, the password you needed to control the NORAD computers was...NORAD. Its a wonder World War III didn't break out.
The PAL (Permissive Action Links) arming mechanisms on USAF bombs were given the ultra-secure code of 0000000 until the late '70s (see below). None were ever accidentally armed. That one was intentional as they had so many other layers of security in place they decided the arming code was superfluous and essentially disabled it.
For decades, British Nuclear Submarines had no security on the launch control panel aside from a bicycle lock, set to 0000. The rationale was that any gentlemen allowed in the navy would know better. Without any safety mechanisms at all, no nuclear device was ever launched or tampered with.
During World War II, in Nazi Germany, a savvy safecracker would dial in Hitler's birthdate first when breaking into a German officer's safe knowing that most of the time that it was all you need to open it.
During World War II, Allied codebreakers could rely on Enigma (the German encryption system, which they thought was unbreakable) messages having easily-guessable initial settings. The Germans also overused the Enigma, which gave the allies more things to work with. For instance, the weather forecast was broadcast every morning, encrypted, and starting with the word 'Wetter'. And in fits of Fridge Brilliance, the Brits actually planted mines in plain sight of the Germans, so they could later intercept the encrypted broadcast ('Danger, mines!'), and use it to decode all other messages sent that day.
The Enigma machine was a message that cryptanalyst Mavis Lever discovered did not contain a single instance of the letter L. Because by that point it was known that the Enigma machine would never substitute a letter for itself, it was immediately obvious that a bored operator had simply hit the nearest key on the machine while sending a dummy message to confuse the British, and in doing so gave away the machine's settings for that day. The Other Wiki has a list of such mistakes.
On Hitler's birthday, almost anyone with a coding machine sent a happy birthday message to the Fuhrer, leading to a lot of easy to decode messages for the crackers to work with.
Following a German hacker in 1986, Clifford Stoll, author of The Cuckoo's Egg, discovered that many of the default passwords for the VMS operating system made for DEC's PDP and VAX computers hadn't been changed - even in military installations and computer companies producing ostensibly secure computing systems.
Some years back in Germany, probably in the late 1990s, a teenager managed to hack into the networks of the Deutsche Telekom, the biggest phone and internet service provider. He did not do any harm and after he collected enough data, he made it public exposing the weak security of the Telekom... Some of the passwords used for critical servers were for example "internet1".
Supposedly, the hacker who cracked Paris Hilton's phone in 2005 did so by finding the "Forgot your password" option. The question: Who is your favorite pet? That's right, Paris Hilton's phone was protected by a name that's been in the tabloids for years.
Palin's Yahoo email account was quickly cracked once a member of 4chan (whose father is a Democratic party official) found it and checked the secret questions... namely, "what is your birthday" and "where did you meet your spouse?" Needless to say, Google made quick work of both.
People who forgot to rename or password-secure their wireless networks invariably provide free bandwidth to the world. You'd be amazed the number of places where you can pick up at least some kind of signal from a network named simply "linksys."
On the Penn Jillette radio show, Penn's co-host, usually Michael Goudeau, is tasked with finding emails from listeners to be read on the show. One day, there was a guest co-host who kept getting inundated with password prompts, at which point Penn reminded him "the password to everything is Dawkins"... on the air. For a few hours, listeners could log into the show's Google Mail account, until a benevolent fan changed the password and made Penn promise to pick a better one.
Before The Google Incident caused anonymous editing to be axed, the password to edit TV Tropes articles without an account was "foamy", which the password pop-up outright said. The only point was to keep spambots out.
Neopets.com has banned the following passwords: password, neopets, pokemon, neopet, username. Four of them are obvious, and apparently Pokémon is just that popular.
GameFAQs once had a password blacklist including 123456, dragon, gamefaqs, nintendo, password, pikachu, pokemon, and qwerty.
During the early days of MapleStory, there was a period of time when accounts with USA registered as the player's country couldn't log in due to an error. One disgruntled player decided to try logging in with random combinations, and to his (and afterwards, everyone's) astonishment, the combination "asdf/(none)" (yes, that means NO password at all) netted him access to a GM account. Hilarity Ensues.
Ireland's main broadband provider, Eircom, used to have passwords for their broadband that used an algorithm based on the registration number of the router. This was fine, except that the algorithm was ALWAYS the same, meaning that if you had an Eircom broadband installation disk, and just looked at the bottom of your neighbour's router at some point, you get their broadband. It got even worse when it was discovered that the registration number was also linked with the name of the wireless signal it gives out, and once that algorithm got online it meant you could get access to any Eircom connection without even needing to do anything! This promptly made Eircom implement a more secure system, but the old routers still have it. Nowadays, however, those algorithms are really just used for a user's OWN router, as it's tediously long to get the password by running the installation disk again. Dutch Telecom/Internet Provider KPN probably used the same routers, as theirs had the same problem.
Italy has several providers who still, to this day, have this problem: Fastweb is the prime culprit as all their routers come pre-set to a WiFi SSID containing numbers that'll give you the default password when copypasted in several available decrypting programs. They tried solving the problem by using another algorithm and different routers; needless to say, that too got cracked in short order. Nowadays they seem to no longer care at all. Telecom and Tele2 have several routers with this problem too, though theirs aren't quite that widespread.
A "Wired" article noted that 123456 is the most common Hotmail password. A news article revealed the same for a music-downloading site after a security leak showed passwords for hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The top 50 passwords, which naturally included "123456," "password," and "qwerty," were used for more than half of the exposed accounts, with 123456 accounting for roughly 10% of them all by itself.
Many people are just too lazy or just simply have no idea on how to change the key combination of their padlock and briefcase locks. Thus, the most common of such combination is 000.
When editing router settings, some people think it is funny to make the network name some kind of reference or joke- some people even make the password something that fits in with the reference/joke, which makes it endlessly easier to guess.
Many retail outlets seem to have passwords and lock combinations that, to those familiar with the store, are glaringly obvious. This includes passwords like "SELL," "WIN," or the store's in-company number.
Some combination padlocks come with the combination on a sticker on the back. As many middle and high school students know, forgetting to take this sticker off before using it is a sure-fire way to get your lock, and anything valuable that it's protecting, stolen.
If you're at a business (especially restaurants) that has a wireless network, but is password protected, try the business's phone number.
When Internet sites spring login/password leaks that inevitably make it to the usual channels as convenient lists, an alarming number of the passwords contained tend to be simply the word "password" in different languages. That, or sequences of sequential numbers. In inverted order, should the user feel particularly crafty.
Many computers in small (or even in big ones) school and/or offices, the Admin password are usually the name of the place or the name of the person in charge.
Siemens advises its customers never to change the default password of their WinCC SCADA system. They continue to do so now that the stuxnet worm has successfully destroyed industrial hardware in uranium enrichment facilities. Given that analysts think the Stuxnet worm was designed with at least the tacit acknowledgement of Siemens themselves, this is unlikely to be an oversight.
For many years, Sky satellite television decoder boxes used the last four digits of the serial number on the subscription keycard as a default parental control code, a fact that was repeatedly stated on a looping "how to use your Sky Plus box" message on channel 999. About as many parents bothered to change it as one might expect.
Some people do actually hack computers and then change the password to swordfish just for fun.
Here's a list of such passwords that would qualify including qwerty, dragon, and qazwsx.
The list of 2011's top 25 passwords includes such gems as: password, 123456, 12345678, 111111, 123123, 654321... well, you get the point. Surprisingly, swordfish and the "classic" passwords from Hackers don't make the list.
The theft of 6.5 million password hashes from LinkedIn in 2012 resulted in a password checking tool from LastPass which lets you check to see if your password was one of those compromised - 'swordfish' is in the list, along with password, 123456, 12354567 and 12345678 (12345 isn't because of the minimum 6 character requirement). I'm sure if you can be bothered, any other easy password on this page is probably in there.
Hippie icon Wavy Gravy was put in charge of security at the first Woodstock festival. The password: "I forgot."
Department store cash registers can often be accessed with the code "7410" because it can be quickly entered by running a finger down the left side of the numpad.
Those electronic roadsigns that you see hacked to read "Zombies Ahead"◊ all over the place on the Internet fall prey to this. The ADDCO Portable Sign has a default password of DOTS which is almost never changed, and if it is you can hold Control and Shift and type DIPY to reset it. The hardest part about hacking these is getting the small padlock off if such a thing is even there to begin with.
Similarly, Windows XP has a hidden Administrator account with no default password. Most people don't even know it exists, let alone bother to deactivate or password lock it. It can be accessed as easily as turning the computer on in Safe Mode, choosing Administrator, and entering no password, giving you free reign over 90% of XP computers out there.