Constant reminders by banks, email service providers and cyber security experts to lock accounts with strong passwords seems to have cut no ice with Indians who continue using passcodes that can be cracked in a jiffy.
According to a study by global password manager NordPass, the most common password used by Indians is the word ‘password’. It is used by as many as 1,714,646 people.
It is followed by no-brainers like ‘12345’, ‘123456’, ‘123456789’, ‘12345678’, ‘india123’, ‘1234567890’, ‘1234567’, ‘qwerty’ and ‘abc123’. According to NordPass, while ‘india123’ takes 17 minutes to crack, the rest can be hacked within a second.
Passwords like ‘xxx’, ‘iloveyou’, ‘krishna’ and ‘omsairam’ also figure in the top 20 list in India.
“It’s important to understand that passwords are the gateway to our digital lives, and with us spending more and more time online, it’s becoming enormously important to take better care of our cybersecurity,” NordPass CEO Jonas Karklys said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, passwords keep getting weaker, and people still don’t maintain proper password hygiene,” he said.
NordPass has compiled a list of 200 most common passwords from 50 countries, in collaboration with independent researchers specialising in research of cybersecurity incidents.
Globally, ‘123456’, ‘123456789’ and ‘12345’ were the most-commonly used passwords used across 50 countries where the study was conducted.
Like India, ‘password’ was the most common one in Japan and the second-common in Australia, the US and Canada. The top password in both US and Russia was ‘123456’.
Stumbling upon interesting traits along the way, researchers also found that a majority of people use their own name as a password. Also, male users tend to use swear words more frequently than females as passwords. The word ‘Onedirection’ which vanished from the 2020’s list of passwords, was found among the most-common ones in the 2021 list. While ‘Liverpool’ was among the commonly-used passwords, ‘dolphin’ was ranked first in the animal-related passwords in many countries. Similarly, ‘Ferrari’ and ‘Porsche’ were the most common car-related passwords. Researchers found that ‘iloveyou’ was most commonly used by women than men. When it came to choosing band names as passwords, Metallica (88,543) outranked Slipknot (75,204).
NordPass advises to use complex passwords for cyber safety – one which has at least 12 characters and is a varied combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It highly recommends the use of a password generator to create a complex password, while cautioning against using a single password for multiple accounts.
“A single password for multiple accounts is a hacker’s delight. If only one of the accounts is compromised, consider all your other accounts jeopardised,” the NordPass website says.