This study reveals the most common phrases people use in passwords

A password is a barrier between a hacker and everything you hold dear. Your personal emails, banking details, access to social media, and basically the entire data of your device rely on a single word, phase, or a character combination.

And lots of people ignore the importance of it.

You see, a new study by CyberNews revealed how predictable (and vulnerable) passwords can be. Their researchers analyzed a staggering number of 15 billion passwords collected from various data breaches.

This study revealed the most common passwords (or password components) shared by millions of people.

Sports teams, cities, foods, and even curse words are among the most popular choices of account protection.

The most popular names used in passwords

Less than 1% of the passwords analyzed by CyberNews use names. Even though this doesn’t sound like a lot, keep in mind that it’s still hundreds of millions of people.

So, it was discovered that the most common name to use in a password is Eva. With 7,169,177 hits, it barely outran Alex, which was used in 7,117,656 passwords.

These two names are followed by Anna, Max, Ava, Ella, Leo, Jack, Ryan, and Daniel.

The most common years, months, days, and seasons

People often use numbers in their passwords. And when the majority of these numbers go from 1900 to 2020, we can safely assume these are years we’re talking about.

The experts at CyberNews speculate that these may signify birth years, special occasions, and the year the password was created.

So, the most common year was 2010 with almost 10 million instances. The year 1987 came a close second with 8.4 million hits, while 1991 got third place with almost as many hits.

Now, about months and days.

The month of May won the popularity contest by a mile, hitting 152,218 instances. Then, we have June, August, April, July, and March - all of them being the most pleasant months of the year. The least popular month is (unsurprisingly) February.

As for the days of the week, we should have expected that the title of the most popular one would be given to Friday (with 157,139 instances). Weirdly, Saturday is the least popular weekday for password creation.

Also, people deemed summer the best season of the year (mentioned in 1,054,215 passwords), followed by winter, spring, and autumn.

The best cities for passwords

It’s not surprising that people use their favorite cities when creating passwords. Whether these are their dream cities, birth cities, or the ones they currently live in, is not clear.

However, it is apparent that the internet’s most popular city is Abu Dhabi, as the word “abu” appeared 2,347,948 times. It was followed by “rome” with 1,027,342 hits in total. Then, came “lima”, “hong” (as in Hong Kong), “milan”, “london”, “liverpool”, “austin”, “antonio”, and “york” (as in New York).

Let’s not forget sports

Sports is a big part of many people’s lives in this age and time. So, it comes as no surprise that sports teams are among the most popular terms to put into passwords.

It turns out that NBA’s Phoenix Suns is the most popular team not only to root for, but also to put into passwords (with more than a million hits). Miami Heat comes second, while MLB’s Cincinnati Reds comes third.

These three teams are followed by Orlando Magic, Liverpool, Chelsea, Utah Jazz, and Arsenal.

All this info indicates that basketball and football/soccer are the most popular types of sport in the password world.

Food is also important

Out of the pool of 15 billion breached passwords, about 42 million contain some kind of food.

Even though the word “ice” can be included in a lot of phrases, it is also a major component in “ice tea” and “ice cream”. It was used 5,979,306 times in total. The second most popular food-related item is actually a beverage: “tea” collected 3,220,773 hits. Then, there come pie, nut, fish, water, butter, cookie, rice, and cake.

Surprisingly, the most neglected foods (aka the foods that were mentioned in passwords the least) are “seasoning”, “margarine”, and “mayonnaise”.

Finally, curse words

As you might have expected, curse words are really popular in the world of passwords - the research showed that a total of 152,933,335 passwords contained words that are usually censored.

So, 26,832,002 people used the word “ass” to create their password. 5,112,079 people used “sex”, while the “F” word came third with 4,846,490 hits.

Things you can do to protect your data

It might be funny to read about the most common words used in passwords, especially when they contain words like “sex” and “pie”.

However, it’s really unfunny when it’s your own password that gets compromised. That’s why you have to do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.

Most importantly, you have to make sure that your password is at least 12 characters long. That’s because such passwords are extremely difficult to crack. Unfortunately, the majority of the passwords leaked use 8, 7, or even 6 characters. Such a password can be cracked in mere seconds. Compare this to millions of years needed to crack a strong 12-character password, and you get the importance of length.

If creating long, complex passwords seems like a daunting task, you can use the help of a password manager. These are the programs specifically created to generate, store, and autofill all your passwords for you. A password manager can even keep track of your credentials. For example, you won’t need to fill in your banking details every time you make a purchase online.

All you need to do is to remember a single master password, and that’s it.

Also: if you’ve just realized that all your passwords have been extremely guessable all this time, don’t panic. Simply update your passwords manually or download a reputable password manager to do the job for you.

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