‘Password’, ‘123456’: Indians continue to use easily hackable internet passwords

A NordPass report shows that 73 percent of the 200 most common passwords used in 2022 are the same as last year. Also, 83 percent of the passwords on the list can be cracked within one second.

Weak passwords
Most users prefer convenient passwords that are easy to remember, which explains the use of easy keyboard combinations of numbers, letters and symbols. Representative image: iStock

‘Password’. ‘123456’, ‘[email protected]’, ‘qwerty’ — these are the most common passwords used by internet users in India. These are easily hackable online passwords that can be cracked in a second, according to the most common passwords of 2022 reported by NordPass, the password manager arm of Nord Secuirty.

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The report – which studied data from 30 countries – notes that despite growing cyber security awareness, old habits die hard. Research shows that people still use weak passwords to protect their accounts.

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While the worst passwords may change every year, humans are creatures of habit. Every year, researchers see the same pattern — sports teams, movie characters, and food items dominate every password list, the report says.

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Convenient use

In 2022, ‘password’ was used 4.9 million times by users worldwide and 3.4 million times in India. The second most popular password in India was ‘123456’ which was used 166,757 times, while ‘bigbasket’, which surprisingly was the fourth most used password, was used 75,081 times – likely driven by increased online shopping.

Other passwords used in India include ‘qwerty’, ‘anmol123’ and ‘googledummy’. According to NordPass, many users prefer convenient passwords that are easy to remember and use, which explains the use of easy keyboard combinations of numbers, letters and symbols. Many users also prefer the country name in their password like “Indya123” and “[email protected]”.

Not much has changed over the years

The NordPass report shows that 73 percent of the more than 200 passwords used in the world in 2022 are the same as last year. They also found that 83 percent of the passwords on the list can be cracked in one second.

The report also found that many users like to express their feelings through passwords. For example, ‘iloveyou’ and its translations in other languages ​​are widely used in many countries. In India, ‘iloveyou’ was at number 81.

The report also points to the influence of major events on the choice of passwords. For example, the password ‘Oscar’ was used 62,983 times after the Oscar ceremony. Similarly, the names of hit movies and shows also inspire password choices. “Movies and shows like Batman, Euphoria and Encanto were the most popular releases in 2021-2022. All the most popular passwords are also: ‘Batman’ was used 2,562,776 times, ‘euphoria’ 53,993 times, and ‘Encanto’ 10,808 times.

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NordPass compiled the list of passwords in collaboration with independent researchers specializing in cyber security incidents. They analyzed a 3TB database of passwords for the study.

Developed technologies

On the positive side, Ieva Soblickaite, chief product officer at NordPass, said passwords are becoming harder to crack thanks to rapidly evolving technologies like Open Authentication 2.0. That’s one reason the sample of passwords available in the public domain for analysis is much smaller than in years past, Soblickite said.

Soblickaite points out that many websites are now using Open Authentication 2.0, an industry-standard that allows websites and applications to access user resources hosted by other web applications, without sharing their passwords.



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