Why is your password “password”?

I was just on the treadmill continuing my attempt to learn lip reading. See, I watch the television while exercising. However, I don’t listen to the tv. I actually listen to my iPod. I dutifully exercise this way day in and day out. I like keeping my brain and body moving continuously. Many people zombie out while exercising. I, on the other hand, read, watch tv, and listen to my music. It’s my version of mindfulness. More to come on that at a later date and time.  Anyway, back to my recent treadmill run (actually more like speed walking).
I was engaged in my daily lip reading endeavor when I saw a news segment briefly go into crazy passwords. Apparently, the most popular password is “123456”. The eighth most popular password is “password”.   Why?  Have you not been watching the news this year?

I am not a hacker. Never want to be. But if I wanted to get into someone’s account, I now have two pretty good password leads. Isn’t that insane? Is can’t understand how this is allowed considering that you often need a mix of letters and numbers for your passwords.

Who picks these as their passwords? Here is my attempt at profiling those who use either of those passwords.  First, they are new to the internet. Totally possible. Yes, even in this day and age.  Second, they are lazy. Totally possible. Third, they want to get caught. Maybe they created a whole, wild story that they hope gets leaked. Fourth, they truly didn’t think anyone would figure it out since its so simple and obvious.

Well, it’s an interesting viewpoint on the world. Despite years upon years of social media, email and overall internet experience we still collectively act as if it’s all new and kind. On television, there are often all these tense scenes where someone’s life hangs in the balance while a group of good-willed nerds try to crack a password. It need not be so tense. Just try 123456 and Jane will be able to go free. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to learn to lip read and see what that gets me.

12 replies »

  1. “Many people zombie out while exercising. I, on the other hand, read, watch tv and listen to my music.” I read as well and try to discover new music on spotify. But back to the passwords, I never understood why people make their passwords so easy, I try to make mine almost impossible and change it every few months.


  2. “Read my lips: Don’t use ‘purple hair’ as your password.” [George Bush: “Read my lips; no new taxes”]
        Actually, by your title I thought you were going to talk about the history or etymology of the word “password”. I guess it was that if you were stopped at the gates of an ancient walled city or castle that if you gave the correct word that the guard would say, “You may pass [through].”
        Anyway, you are supposed to use a password that does not reference anything about yourself, i.e. e.g. your dog’s name, your birthday, your birthplace, your favorite song. And they say it should be something that’s difficult to remember. I think that it’s rebellion against these criteria, and the anger that goes with it that drives some people to make silly choices. The arrogance of it is similar to the dilemma that happens when someone knocks on the door:
        “Who is it?”
        “It’s Me.”
    Sometimes people don’t want to be embarrassed not recognizing a friend’s voice, so they let in a stranger.


  3. p.s. Maybe it’s people anthropomorphizing the computer. The computer says who’s there. And the person is expecting the computer to recognize them when they say, “It’s Me.” They’re thinking in human terms. They come home to their own castle or home [their computer] and they say hey, let me in, I’m the King and it’s my castle — how dare you not recognize me. So it’s a visceral reaction like the misplaced fight-or-flight reaction that’s rooted prehistoric times.


  4. And if you really want to hack something, chat the person up at a bar and ask them about their pets. Then try (pet’s name)123. That’s for the ones who are too smart to use ‘password’.


  5. I (probably stupidly and dangerously) use the same password for nearly everything! Also, did you know there’s now a password keeper (I think) app? I have no idea what it does or how it works, though. I’m too lazy to try it!


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