‘123456’ remains the most used password in 2021

News / ‘123456’ remains the most used password in 2021

‘123456’ remains the most used password in 2021

‘123456’ has kept its place as the most popular password globally for another year after coming in first in the list of the most used passwords in 2021 from password manager provider NordPass. 

NordPass ranked the top 200 most common passwords and ‘123456’ was most popular once again, after also coming in first in the 2020 list. 

In the findings published this week, ‘123456789’ was second on the list and ‘12345’ came in at third. Other classics ‘qwerty’ (4th) and ‘password’ (5th) rounded out the top five. 

NordPass, the password management provider by NordSec, who also offer the popular VPN service NordVPN, say the list “was compiled in partnership with independent researchers specialising in research of cybersecurity incidents.” 

A 4TB database was evaluated spanning across 50 countries, with a gender comparison also provided. 

The top five passwords in the UK are: 

  1. 123456 
  2. password 
  3. liverpool 
  4. password1 
  5. 123456789 

There is a slight variation when filtering by gender; men are more likely to use ‘liverpool1’ as their password than ‘password1’, and women are found to use ‘charlie’ (#3) commonly as their password, as well as ‘12345’ (#4) and ‘chocolate’ (#5). The popular use of ‘liverpool’, by men particularly, may signify who the country’s favourite football team is. 

The report also gave an indication of the time it would take to crack each password. Likely referring to brute-force attacks, the top five most popular passwords could all be cracked in under 1 second. 

The findings may be a little surprising to some, given the constant reminders to use strong passwords online, as well as many sites requiring users to follow specific requirements, such as the use of both upper and lower case characters, numbers and symbols when making their passwords. 

A few interesting trends were highlighted for password use. Firstly, the researchers found a ‘stunning number’ of people use their own name as a password. 

Secondly, the favourite car brands around the world may be Ferrari and Porsche, according to the frequency of their use in passwords, and dolphins may be the world’s most-loved animal. 

The report also showcased how often swear words are used as passwords, with ‘f*ckyou’ seeming to be quite popular. 

On a slightly different note, the report also detailed the countries most affected by data leaks. It ranked countries by the number of passwords leaked per capita, with Russia first by quite a margin, having almost 20 passwords leaked per capita. Czech Republic was second with 6.2 per capita, followed by France (6), Germany (5.8) and United States (5.1). 

A ‘risk index’ was devised by the researchers, sorting countries into three tiers of high, average or low risk for data leaks. Ireland, United states and Australia were all deemed high risk, with the UK being considered average risk. 

In September, Microsoft announced plans to replace passwords with an authenticator app. 

Password security is an important consideration for businesses and also a relatively easy way to protect your organisation and its data

NordPass recommended five ways to improve your password usage: 

  1. Complexity – a password containing at least 12 characters with a varied combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. 
  2. Don’t reuse passwords – if one account is compromised, so too are the other accounts using the same password. 
  3. Regularly update passwords – security experts recommend changing passwords every 90 days. 
  4. Reassess your passwords – identify weak, old passwords and update them. 
  5. Password manager – a way to securely store and access saved passwords.
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