What’s wrong with passwords? A lot. This system for authenticating your identity, once relegated to mysterious subjects of cloak and dagger or controlling access to a speakeasy during prohibition, has exploded to become the Internet’s de facto method for verifying that a person is who he or she says they are. Think of how many passwords you are required to create and recall on a daily basis – your password for work, Facebook, Amazon, personal e-mail, and so on. It’s no wonder that when it comes time to change a password or create a new one, we often stick with what’s familiar. But what does our password choice say about our psychology?
The people over at WPEngine, the popular hosting platform for WordPress, decided to analyze millions of publicly available passwords and they came to some pretty interesting conclusions about the thought process many of us go through.
- Women tend to use the word love in their passwords twice as often as men.
- People in high profile positions at major corporations create passwords like the rest of us do, by combining names, dates of birth, simple words and a few numbers.
- While we are becoming slightly better at creating passwords, most of us are just sticking a few digits at the end of the passwords we already use. Nearly one out of four of us will simply slap the number 1 on to the end of a password to meet a numerical requirement.
- Friday is the most popular day of the week to choose as a password.
- Fish edges out bear as the favorite choice of animal for a password.
- Batman, Superman and Ironman take top place for favorite superheroes used in a password.
- Some of the most popular passwords are 123456, password, qwerty, abc123, dragon, 111111, and monkey.
The major take-away confirms what we all know – we have become encumbered with passwords, and the propensity for us to keep things simple weakens the most common method of authentication. The ne’er-do-wells in the dark reaches of cyberspace know this. Go ahead and take a look at your passwords. Let’s not make their jobs any easier.