Meanwhile there a few different studies that document a list of the most commonly used passwords. But no matter the results the common warning is passwords and their predictability.
How we collected the most common passwords?
The team at Cybernews were interested in password patterns, what was the most common way the general populace were using when creating their own passwords? So, the investigation team set about collecting data from publicly leaked data breaches, that included
the Breach Compilation,
and other databases
Secondly, they made the data anonymous and detached the passwords.
Next, they looked at passwords and phrases in isolation.
The team were able to analyse a total of 15,212,645,925 passwords. And out of that number 2,217,015,490 were unique
Most importantly, they discovered ways in which the general populace creates their passwords. Passwords or phrases were based on:
Their favourite – foods, cities, sports teams and preferred profanity
And could probably guess their age as people generally used their year of birth in their password.
Most frequent things in passwords
Many people choose something familiar so they can easily recall when creating a simple, memorable combination for their websites. But that doesn’t make the password unique:
It actually makes it easy for others to guess. So quite the opposite!
These right here are some of the most common things used in passwords from the research and analysis of over 15 billion entries. If you use something similar, you might want to rethink your own passwords.
Most popular years used in passwords
When the team looked at the numbers 1900-2020 were the most popular for people’s passwords.
As a rule, years in their passwords could mark:
their birth year
the year in which the password was created
a special year – anniversary, child’s birth year
Most popular years used this year in passwords.
2010, with nearly 10 million
1987 at 8.4 million,
1991 at nearly 8.3 million.
Meanwhile, if you look at the graph there is an increase from the 1940 to the 1990. After that the trend goes down quite a bit, only to sharply rise between 2004 -2010.
We could make some assumptions from the figures with three general possibilities about why people use years in their passwords
The 1940s to the 1990s rise corresponds to the birth years of the password creators. In other words, there were more password-creators born in 1980-1990.
Parents whose child was born in that specific year or other special occasions could account for the spike in ‘2010’
The spike in ‘2000’ could be birth years or turn of the millennium as well as special years.
These are just some speculations the team have made from the data.
The internet’s favourite name as a password
Passwords created have favourite names and this year the winner is
Alex – 50,000 instances less than Eva
The world’s favorite sports team – and sport used in creating passwords
People of all nations love sports. We get an idea of the most popular sport and the sports teams supported.
The NBA’s Phoenix Suns are the number one sports team, followed by Miami Heat, at least for the English-speaking world. In third place is MLB’s Cincinnati Reds but reds could stand for other things and may not be sports related?
UK Soccer appears three times on our top 10 list, with Liverpool, Arsenal & Chelsea in #5, #6, and #8.
In short there are five NBA teams, two from MLB, and three English football clubs. According to the results of the data we can surmise that the most popular sport in the world is NBA, followed by soccer. However, some stats say that soccer is number one.
The internet’s favourite curse word as password
Favourite cursed words are another aspect as well as just how many passwords contained curse words?
So, 152,933,335 passwords contained curse words and that works out at 7%.
The Internet’s favourite curse word according to the results show “ass” coming in first with almost 27 million.
The top 10 curse words used in passwords is in the below table:
The world’s most common city used in passwords
Certainly, most people would use the name of the city they were born in or live in as a sign of pride and love for their city, as an assumption. Unless of course they write “ihatemelbourne2020!”
So, what are the most popular city names people use to create passwords?
“Abu” most likely represents the UAE capital Abu Dhabi – at number one sport.
Rome a city in Italy comes in second.
The US only appears on the list three times Austin, San Antonio and York #8 #9 & #10
The top months, days and seasons
The best days are Friday, Saturday or Sunday based on my vote, and the best season is summer.
“Friday has the top number of usages” But why does Saturday come in last and “Monday” in second place. That’s to say why wasn’t Monday in last place? Surely everybody hates Monday, and it is the least favourite day of the week.
May and June are the most popular months names with May twice as popular, on the top. But “may” is also a common word, and a name so it’s possible it’s use has various reasons.
The best food for passwords
Lastly, people have favourite foods they love so they use them in their passwords. But not as popular with only 1.9%, with about 42 million uses.
The top food/drink could refer to “ice cream” or “iced tea” but since tea is second it is most likely iced tea.
The important thing about these popular password’s statistics
Understandably people want to make sure to remember their passwords. But is it a good thing to use familiar and favourite elements like year, sports, sports teams and food? When the team took a closer look at these favourites, one thing they noticed was most of the passwords had fewer than 8 characters. In other words, it doesn’t equate to a strong password.
If you combine that with the fact that these words are not complex and easily guessable. That’s to say these passwords are too weak. And we can certainly make passwords stronger.
For example, using “ice” as an element of the password, something easily guessed could be “iceicebaby” (10 characters), while something more complex would be “iceromearsenal12hjamesp” (a 23-character passphrase). If you get stuck for ideas, you can always use the NordPass unique password generator tool that generates strong & random passwords . In addition, people also like to create unique passwords mnemonically that have a logical meaning to the creator but harder to crack. Check out mnemonic examples here.
Conclusion: how do I make all my passwords safe?
Firstly, chose unique and strong passwords. They must be difficult to crack and not easily guessed.
Certainly, the passwords you don’t have to remember are the best type especially now we have so many online accounts. Therefore, that’s why we highly recommend that people use password managers. LastPass or NordPass are an easy tool that will create a complex unique password for you as well as remember it! You only need to remember your one master password.
Password managers come as browser extensions in general that fill in both your usernames and passwords. So easy!