Passwords are the locks which prevent thieves from getting away without personal data. In the big bad digital world, they protect us from credit card thefts and identity thieves. Sadly, the passwords which people use for their various accounts are still not getting safer.
People are not following strong password generation practices, and instead, are using pattern based passwords which can be easily cracked. This was the conclusion of the research conducted by WP Engine, which analysed close to 15 million passwords to arrive at this result.
Using the 10 million password cache released by security expert Mark Burnett recently, combined with the 5 million passwords which WP Engine was able to procure from a Russian forum, the security experts at the popular company analysed all the passwords at their disposal to come to a startling revelation.
Despite repeated warning and multiple security breaches across the globe, people are still using passwords which are easy to remember, and even easier to crack. While experts have warned against using phrases like password, 123456 and first names as passwords, a new kind of pattern was observed by these experts.
A number of users were found using passwords which appeared to be random. Yet, the fact that multiple people were using them forced the experts to take a closer look. It turns out that many people are using physical patterns on their keyboards to come up with their passwords. This includes passwords like qwerty, asdfgh, adgjptw and qazxsw. While they appear to be randomly chosen, one look at the keyboard makes it clear that all of them are sequential or alternate keys on the keyboard.
People were also found to be adding a number to the end of their unsafe passwords, the most common choice being the number 1. Such shortcuts, create passwords which can be broken using brute force methods with a simple modification in pattern prediction.