Batman beats Superman, and other surprising finds in 10 million leaked passwords.
Last year, the single largest dataset of actual user passwords was released by security researcher Mark Burnett. While we’re advised to use nothing more than random characters, our passwords are a reflection of our culture, as much as ourselves. Here’s what they have to say.
In a day and age where people strive for individuality, it seems passwords are predictable and routine. For example, it seems that every year we get a new list of the most common password people use, and every year that answer is either password, or 12345.
But we had our eyes on a different list that answered the important questions that really matter, like: who is the most popular superhero to use in password?
Luckily, someone crunched those numbers for us. In the report “Unmasked: What 10 million passwords reveal about the people who choose them,” security researchers dug deep into our passwords to find the more interesting data points for us.
Here are the five most interesting insights from the study:
- What do weddings and our passwords have in common? The +1.
The number 1 is the most common numerical password suffix, followed by 2 then 3. Perhaps it seems easiest to remember when prompted to add a number for security, but if you’re looking to beef up your passwords, maybe opt for something a bit more original.
- While Batman vs. Superman doesn’t seem to be a favorite at the box office, the heroes are a undeniable hit in our passwords. The researchers found “Batman and Superman are the most popular superhero choices,” with Ironman, Hawkeye, and Spiderman following close in rank.
- Passwords don’t need to be a Mavis-Beacon exercise, but many showed an easy typing pattern across the keyboard. The password qwerty is so popular it not only leads the top 20 list, but it also has a keyboard layout named after it. Others include zxcvb and 1qazxsw. Mobile phone layouts also contribute, with adgjmptw taking the last rung on the ladder. The path of least password resistance is appealing, but the easier it is to type could make it easier to hack.
- Friday is the day of the week almost every worker looks forward to, and it’s the day of the week people look to first when thinking of a password. Interestingly, the second most used day of the week is Monday. Didn’t see that coming!
- Our passwords also show a lot of love. The word “love” was no stranger and appeared in about 4 of every 1,000 passwords. Inferring from data with birth years in the usernames, those born in the eighties and nineties incorporated it more often than those born in earlier decades.
One of the biggest revelations from the research is that humans are drawn to patterns. If you’ve gotten in a password routine, don’t feel guilty — so many of us have done the same there are studies about it! How can you strengthen your password? Now is the time to update your passwords!
Passwords are hard, but they don’t have to be. Get tips and tricks for upgrading your passwords at PasswordDay.org