A recent study of 61 million leaked passwords from Virginia Tech and Dashlane uncovered troubling password patterns.
Dashlane researchers examined the data for patterns, illuminating simple mistakes that continue to be made by people who use passwords in daily life, which is to say—virtually everyone. The Dashlane researchers found patterns across the keyboard, from not-so-randomly chosen letters and numbers to, popular brands and bands, and even passwords created out of apparent frustration.
Dashlane researchers discovered a high frequency of passwords containing combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that are adjacent to one another on the keyboard. This practice, known as “Password Walking,” highlights the apathetic attitude most users have towards password creation, preferring convenience over security.
When users “Password Walk” they are creating passwords that are far from secure. Most hackers are keenly aware of the human tendency to rely on convenience and can easily exploit these common passwords.
Most are familiar with versions of “Password Walking,” such as “qwerty” and “123456”, but Dashlane’s researchers uncovered several other combinations that are frequently used:
These passwords are all comprised of keys on the left-hand side of standard keyboards. This means users can simply use the pinky or ring finger on their left hand to type their entire password. However convenient this may be, saving a few seconds is not worth the loss of one’s critical financial and/or personal data due to an account hack.
TThe study said, "The prevalence of “Password Walking” is troubling and should make anyone using such passwords take another look at their password practices. Genuinely random and unique passwords are essential to password security; punching a bunch of adjacent characters will not cut it."
Vices like Coca Cola and Skittles seep into all corners of life, even passwords, the study said. The ten most frequent brand-related passwords:
- myspace *experienced a major breach in 2016
- linkedin *experienced a major breach in 2016
Unsurprisingly, said the study, pop culture references were also prevalent. It would be wise to remember that using passwords that use names or common phrases is not a safe practice.
The ten most frequent pop culture passwords:
Last, as the world prepares for the Champions League Final this weekend, the study suggested that fans of the game should refrain from showing love for their favorite club in their passwords.
Dashlane found a plethora of sports-related terms in the dataset, but the following perennial Champions League football clubs showed up more than any other teams: