A Year in Numbers, Letters, and Special Characters
OK, so none of the passwords on this list are as ridiculous as "123456" or "Password" (believe us, plenty of people still use these), but Americans made common password security mistakes in 2020. Astonishingly, 25 percent — that's one in four of us — shared personal passwords with other people at some point this year. That's without protection like a good password manager. And we think this is just asking for trouble. The above is just one of the fascinating insights from a new survey by home security firm Security.org. Below are some of our favorites. Have you used any of these passwords? (Hint: Don't tell us!)
COVID and the Election On Our Mind
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives, in one way or another. So perhaps it's no surprise that the coronavirus has influenced so many password choices this year. Fourteen percent of people used the word "COVID" in a password in 2020. (It didn't even appear on last year's list.)
Twenty-one percent of people used "Biden" or "Trump" as part of a password in 2020, and while Trump didn't win the election, he appeared in more passwords
We're Cursing More
It's been a terrible year for many people, so perhaps Americans are expressing their frustrations through their password choices. Twenty percent of people used the f-bomb or another curse word as part of a password in 2020. Curse words appear more times in passwords than birth years, pets' names, first names, and street names.
We're Spelling Words Incorrectly
Eleven percent of passwords contained misspelled words this year. Perhaps unintentionally. Or maybe to fool hackers. We're not sure. Though we imagine intentionally misspelled words are difficult to remember.
We Favor Our Partners Over Our Parents
Eight percent of people included their partner's name in their password in 2020, compared to 7 percent of people who included a parent's name, suggesting Americans prefer their lovers to their mothers and fathers. But children's names are still the most popular, appearing in 9 percent of password choices this year.
We Like to Repeat Characters. Repeatedly.
Five percent of people used a password with repeated characters in 2020. That means passwords like "aaaaa" and "eeeee." We're not sure why.
We Don't Like to Use Lots of Characters in Our Passwords
Forty-five percent of Americans used passwords with just eight characters or fewer in 2020. But it gets worse. Sixteen percent of Americans used passwords with seven characters or fewer. (Just 22 percent used longer, stronger passwords of 12 characters or more.)
In a year where more of us are working from home, the need for password security has never been greater. Not all the passwords on this list are bad, but there's no excuse for using fewer than eight characters and sharing passwords with no protection. Plus, many of the passwords listed above are predictable, making it easier for hackers to guess them. Here are some pro-tips:
- Longer passwords are stronger passwords.
- Use a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.
- And, perhaps, most importantly, use a password manager like TeamPassword.
TeamPassword is a simple and effective way to store and share passwords and team logins so you can keep business projects moving and protect your assets.