The very first entry is “!andrew96!” The very last entry is “zzzzzzzzzzz.”
In between are millions of other online passwords, pilfered from LinkedIn by hackers and leaked online in 2012.
Despite the grave security implications of the mass theft, it can still be difficult to grasp the true consequences. That’s where artist Adam Barthol comes in.
Barthol documented each of the 4.6 million passwords, neatly arranging them across eight volumes of hardback encyclopedias. Titled “Forgot Your Password,” the installation is on display at The Glass Room.
Barthol’s exhibit looks like your father’s Encyclopedia Britannica collection — but it’s far more dangerous and potent. Passwords are often reused and can provide a key to our finances, our professional lives and our innermost thoughts. And so Barthol’s art is equal part exhortation — a warning that in the 21st century, online security best be taken seriously.
Too often, it’s not. In the “P” volume, simple variations on the password “password” stretch on for pages. It’s time to get more serious about protecting ourselves online.
Want to engage further? Mozilla’s SmartOn CyberSecurity site has password tips, security tricks and more.