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Everyone Should Follow Microsoft's Lead

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Back in my Super Nintendo days, I was a huge fan of the unicycle racing game Uniracers. Along with the fast gameplay and Tony Hawk-style trick ranking, Uniracers was memorable for -- of all things -- its player name entry. If you chose a curse word -- or "Sega" or "Sonic" -- for your racer name, the game wouldn't allow it and evoke a "Not cool enough" message.

Over 15 years later, we still don't have a similar message for easily hackable passwords. For banking sites, email accounts, or even government agencies, as long as it follows the system's guidelines, "Password" or "ABC123" are still acceptable.

Except for one online service: Hotmail.

Microsoft has recently unveiled its own "Not cool enough" message for far-too-common passwords on its free webmail service. Hotmail will spit back entries like "123456," "Password," and even "ilovecats" and force the user to think a little more obscure. It's also created a service -- dubbed "My Friend's Been Hacked!" -- which allows users to report if another account has been compromised.

Needless to say, preventing users from relying on brain-dead passwords is paramount in an age where hacker groups like Anonymous and LulzSec rule the online roost. Following the high profile hacks of Sony and Sega -- along with the incessant leaks of email and banking passwords -- it's incredibly important that every online account is protected with a complex, difficult-to-guess password.

It's time that everyone adopt Hotmail's password rejection feature.

Maybe then, iPhone users will stop using the same four-digit passcode for their PayPal, Amazon, and Bank of America accounts.

(See also: Do You Have the Most Common iPhone Passcode? and Proof You Should Change Your Passwords Immediately)

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