Here’s yet another reason why you really should start using better passwords
What you choose for a password might be revealing more about you that you ever thought, according to new analysis.
CyberNews.com analysed over 15 billion passwords from users around the world, finding out some intriguing details about exactly what users from different countries use to create supposedly strong logins.
Examining what letters and number made up the passwords, the company was able to extrapolate a lot of information, including the most popular cities, sports teams, and even swear words.
The CyberNews.com team collected its passwords from publicly leaked data breaches, including the Breach Compilation, Collection #1-5, and more, with the data anonymized and the passwords detached so that it could be examined in isolation.
The data revealed that many users tie personal information to their passwords, primarily a year, a name, or a city in the world.
2010 was found to be the most popular year included in passwords, with nearly 10 million versions of this year used in passwords, followed by 1987 at 8.4 million, and the third was 1991 at nearly 8.3 million. Eva was the name most used in passwords, appearing over 7.1 million times, followed by Alex, Anna, Max, and Ava – although the researchers noted that out of the 15 billion passwords analyzed, less than 1% used a first name in their password creation.
Abu Dhabi (included as just “abu”) was the most used city, appearing in over 2.3 million passwords followed by Rome, Lima, Hong Kong and Milan. Many users also included food and drink mentions in their logins, with “tea”, “pie”, “nut” and “fish” all appearing in over two million passwords each.
When it came to favourite sports teams, the Phoenix Suns NBA basketball team was found in over 1.1 million passwords, followed by the Miami Heat (909,558) and Cincinnati Reds MLB baseball team (686,716). However there was also three soccer teams in the top ten, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all featuring highly.
Interestingly, of the 15,212,645,925 passwords examined by the company, only 2,217,015,490 were unique, raising questions about the security habits of users around the world.
CyberNews flagged that the majority of passwords used had eight or fewer characters, potentially making them easier to guess, with the company urging users to create long, strong passwords, or use a password manager.