Password alert – Security experts release list of commonly used logins
Security experts are warning about the common missteps people make when setting up or changing their passwords.
Analysts from password manager app Dashlane looked at more than 61million passwords and discovered some simple mistakes that are commonly made.
The research found common keyboard patterns as well as names and phrases people tend to use when setting up passwords.
The analysis was conducted with research provided by Dr Gang Wang, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.
Dr Wang said: “It is difficult for humans to memorise unique passwords for the 150 plus accounts the average person has.
“Inevitably, people reuse or slightly modify them, which is a dangerous practice. This danger has been amplified by the massive data breaches which have given attackers more effective tools for guessing and hacking passwords.”
While Emmanuel Schalit, CEO at Dashlane, added: “When striving to create the very best solutions, it is vital to understand the problems faced.
“The data obtained and analysed by the Virginia Tech researchers is evidence of rampant password reuse, and Dashlane’s examination of this research shed new light on typical patterns and habits.”
The research, revealed in a blog post, separated passwords into four different types.
These were: most popular brands, movies & music, love & hate and Champions League teams.
Dashlane also found that a high frequency of passwords contained characters that were adjacent to one another on a keyboard.
Dashlane said this practice was known as “password walking” and highlighted an “apathetic attitude” people had towards creating passwords.
They said: “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.”
Besides common ‘password walking’ logins such as qwerty and 123456, Dashlane researchers uncovered several other commonly used combinations.
These are: 1q2w3e4r, 1qaz2wsx, 1qazxsw2, zaq12wsx, !qaz2wsx and 1qaz@wsx.
Dashlane found brand names were also popular passwords for users, with former social networking giant myspace the number one brand-related password.
The top ten most frequent brand related passwords are: myspace, mustang, linkedin, ferrari, playboy, mercedes, cocacola, snickers and corvette.
For music and movies, the top ten pop culture passwords are: superman, pokemon, slipknot, starwars, metallica, nirvana, blink182, spiderman, greenday and rockstar.
Dashlane also found another recurring password theme was a reliance on words related to love as well as aggressive or vulgar language.
For this theme, the top ten passwords are: iloveyou, f*ckyou, a**hole, f*ckoff, iloveme, trustno1, beautiful, ihateyou, bullsh*t and lovelove.
While, ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final, football teams were also a popular password choice.
The top five football team related passwords were: liverpool, chelsea, arsenal, barcelona and manchester.
Besides avoiding these common passwords, Dashlane had other advice for users to ensure they stay safe online.
Security experts warned against the dangers of ‘password walking’
They advised users:
• Use a unique password for every online account.
• Generate passwords that exceed the minimum of eight characters.
• Create passwords with a mix of case-sensitive letters, numbers, and special symbols.
• Avoid using passwords that contain common phrases, slang, places, or names.
• Use a password manager to help generate, store, and manage your passwords.
• Never use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.