Published 2018-04-20
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Passwords we use and their meaning

The stealing and publishing of passwords to the Hotmail e-mail service on the Web was a serious problem for the Microsoft service provider and its users. For researchers, however, it turned out to be an opportunity to analyze what phrases are used by Internet users as slogans for their accounts. Experts from the Acunetix network security company have obtained a list of about 10,000 entries and analyzed it thoroughly.

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As it turned out, 90 percent of the passwords were unique, that is, it appeared on the list only once. Most often - 64 times - a password consisting of six characters occurred: 123456. A bit less often, because 18 times, a slightly more sophisticated slogan from this group appeared: 123456789. There were also 12345678 (nine times) and 1234567 (eight times).

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The password 654321 was repeated six times. The passwords consisting of the numbers themselves constituted 19 percent of all on the list disclosed. Among them there were seven passwords consisting of only number 1 (111111) and zeros (000000). Among the slogans, there was a single character :), but the average consisted of 8 characters, while the majority had from 6 to 9 characters.

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42 percent contained only lowercase letters of the alphabet, 30 percent letters capital and small and numbers. Only 6 percent met the recommendations of specialists in the field of computer security and used both letters and numbers as well as special ones such as % and &. The longest of the revealed passwords consisted of as many as 30 letters: lafaroleratropezoooooooooooooo.

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Analysts pointed out that the passwords such as the alejandra, alberto, tequiero or bonita, were repeated many times, which they think indicate that they came from the Latin American culture. When it comes to "sensitive" passwords, these are the passwords that we use to log in to e-mail, Facebook or bank. Most people become aware of their genesis only when they are asked about it. Although they reach for them several times a day. These slogans often turn out to commemorate important episodes from life, people and places. And talk about us so much that we do not want to disclose them for reasons other than concerns about online security.

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Changing the password may be more difficult than changing your partner, workplace or address (analogue). Thanks to this, inconspicuous slogans so effectively store memories that we would otherwise be able to and sometimes we would like to forget. "Many of them are full of pathos, pranks, sometimes even poetry. This may be some mobilizing phrase or mockery from the boss...

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...A trace of lost love, self-irony or some spiritual mark" - enumerates the journalist of the New York Times, Ian Urbin, who has been asking for secrets for almost a few years. And the results of this private investigation a few months ago summed up in the journal. According to him, most passwords are specific souvenirs. They can be derived from the Bible or from the horoscope, from songs or books, from the names of close relatives or their own pseudonym. "Like tattoos on embarrassing parts of the body" - says Urbin - "they are intimate and significant."

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Dates are always present. Not only births of loved ones, but also important historical events. It is a way to learn "by the way". Professional runners or swimmers used to put in their slogans the time they would like to achieve on the track. But Mauricio Estrella, the author of one of the most frequently read articles on the Medium journalistic platform, went much further. In an entry titled "How the password changed my life," he reported how he dealt with the depression caused by the divorce.

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It began with the fact that the postal service system, according to the monthly rhythm, asked him to provide a new password: a combination of upper and lower case letters, special characters and numbers. Instead of a meaningless combination of Estrella, this time he wrote [email protected], meaning "forgive her". For a month, it became his daily mantra. "I did not write the password," said Estrella, "I just remembered to forgive her." It turned out that this minor surgery dramatically changed his attitude towards his ex-wife. So when the computer again demanded a new password from him, he had another challenge ready.

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Thanks to the phrase [email protected], he actually quit smoking. And [email protected] helped him save on holidays in Thailand. Despite repeating for a month, Eat2 @ day did not manage to limit to two meals a day. But he started going to bed before midnight (Sleep @ before12) and for two months he fasted with drinking (No @ drinking2months). Then he made a habit of calling Mum every Sunday (Facetime2mom @ sunday). Finally, he made an appointment for the first time (Ask @ her4date). The last password mentioned in the article was Save4 @ ring. This time he did not save on holidays, but on the engagement ring. A month and a half later he wrote under his article: "She agreed."

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