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  • Jessica Barker

Happy ******** Day

Passwords. It's fair to say they are often the cause of - and the solution to - many security headaches.

In one form or another, passwords have been with us for a long time. As I cover in my book Confident Cyber Security, internet passwords were invented at MIT in 1961. Fernando Corbato invented the computer password as we know it for the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).

But the roots of passwords can be traced back thousands of years, for example with Julius Caesar and the invention of the Caesar cipher around 50 BC.

Passwords, by their nature, are hidden away. Many people tell their secrets to their passwords: who they love, who they hate and just what they really think of their boss.

I find it weirdly heartening to know that, in one of our databases of half a billion unique cracked passwords, 690,523 contain the phrase "I love" compared to only 55,505 containing the phrase "I hate".

There's a lot more love than hate in passwords.

Passwords do a lot to keep our information safe. So, it's only right that they get a day to be celebrated. In honour of World Password Day, we wanted to share some of these trends. In another database, this one with 1.2 billion cracked passwords, some trends we found include:

  • 'Metallica' was used as a password 141,550 times

  • 'Eminem' was used as a password 176,291 times (sorry, Metallica)

  • The longest real word that we found being used as a password was 'supercalifragilisticoespialialidoso' (so, no, using a password that is a non-English word does not mean it's a secure password...)

Passwords can do a lot to keep out accounts secure. But, like all of us, they need a bit of attention and support. They can't do it all. When it comes to account security, we recommend three key pieces of advice:

  1. Set strong, unique passwords

  2. Find a secure approach to managing your passwords that works for you

  3. Add a second layer of security with two-factor / multi-factor authentication

For more information on this, and more cyber security advice on all sorts of topics, check out our guidance page. Feel free to share the image above and our guidance documents with any colleagues, friends or family members who might benefit from it.

If you want any support raising awareness of cyber security good practice, check out our services.

And don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list 📧


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