Posted in Security

Popular passwords stay the same, but there are surprising differences between countries

In 2021, the most common password in the world still is 123456. The fourth most used password is qwerty and the fifth – what else – password. Not much has changed with the most used passwords during years, but there are remarkable pieces of information in the ranking when we look at it from country perspective.

Nordpass, an online password manager service, has compiled statistics for the most used passwords around the world. The top 10 is:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. 12345
  4. qwerty
  5. password
  6. 12345678
  7. 111111
  8. 123123
  9. 1234567890
  10. 1234567

The most popular passwords take less than a second to crack. Nordpass studied hacked password databases that were available online. Perhaps some of the data is old in these databases because six character passwords, and even five character passwords are listed high on the chart. Today, online services typically enforce minimum eight characters and a mix of letters and numbers. In any case, it is fascinating how little value many people regard for passwords.

Here are a few highlights of the most popular password ranking by country. Perhaps these discoveries tell something about the culture of each country.

  • Finland has been selected as the happiest country in the world a couple of times, but what is the secret of this Nordic nation? Maybe it is swearing. There are three swear words in the top 10 of the most used passwords list, and many more outside top ten (it only gets worse the further down the list you go).
  • Chileans value the name of their country so much it is the fourth most popular password. Outside top 10, almost all passwords are female and male names.
  • Also Romanians love their names so much that the majority of top 10 passwords are names. qwerty or password didn’t even make the top 10 because of this.
  • Irish seem to have a strong relationship with English football. Liverpool made it twice to the top 10, but no teams from Ireland.
  • Liverpool made it to the top 10 of popular passwords twice in the UK, and Arsenal reached top 10 as well.
  • French like the Mediterranean city of Marseille so much it is the 10th most used password. The ninth, however, is even more interesting: loulou. It is an accessory brand, and also the nickname of massively popular cyclist Julian Alaphilippe. French people love their perfumes and luxury bags, but also their Tour de France.

The most striking observation after viewing the most popular passwords is the complete lack of creativity. People go the easiest way, pushing keys that are next to one another on the keyboard.

For years, we have been told to use long passwords that are not words but strings made up of letters and numbers. For years, millions of computers and online accounts have been hacked in a matter of seconds simply because of people haven’t followed the advice. You can easily verify how strong passwords you use at security.org. It calculates the average time how long it takes from a computer to crack it (that’s how criminals do it, they don’t type passwords themselves trying to guess likely words – a computer program does it for them).

Recently, Microsoft analyzed a sample of 25 million password cracking attempts, and discovered that 77% of attempts tried a password shorter than eight characters. If you look at the list of most common passwords, it is easy to understand why criminals won’t waste much time on trying to crack longer passwords.

security.org password checker
Security.org password strength check.

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