Security Blanket – the image above shows a quilt digitally printed with most frequently used passwords.This word cloud represents a thousand of the most common passwords for a social application and gaming website called RockYou.
( The illustration is by LORRIE FAITH CRANOR, from CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY – “In our quest for security, it turns out we all think alike. “, says Lorrie)
“Oh, no! Another password!” Does this happen to you when for the millionth time you are being asked to change or register somewhere with a new password?? Well, it does happen invariably to me – because I have to think one more time of a smart sequence of letters (and numbers) that I’ll have to remember when asked again, maybe in a few years’ time. But chances are that I’m giving myself all the trouble for nothing: whether I think a lot or just a little, my password is very likely to look similar or be identical to the one you thought about.
The story of this image began with the hackers who stole information and passwords from the site in 2009 and published a subset on the Internet. In 2013, researcher Lorrie Faith Cranor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, decided to randomly analyze one thousand of the 32 million users’ passwords hacked from the site, to see which ones were the most common.
The results are digitally printed on this quilt – the more prominent, the most frequently used, like “123456”. I must admit, though, that these too simple ideas of passwords may have been common during the more “primitive” years of networking, while they are way less these days. However, this is just a simple example of how, in matters of things of everyday life, we share common patterns of thought in our choices, likes and dislikes – and industries like advertising and marketing know how to put it to good use.
It is known by “magicians”, especially by mentalists – a great number of their guesses (you know, when they ask you to think of a number between 1 – 100.., etc, etc,) are based on this particularity – or, rather, “generality” that we share.
6 thoughts on “You and I Are More Alike Than You Think – “In our quest for security, it turns out we all think alike. “”
Yea, these days it seems that you find an answer to all your needs: just knack your fingers. However, just as I’m asking myself every time before I reach out to take a painkiller what are the possible secondary effects, similarly I have to ask what happens if anything happens to your vault?? So far, I keep my passwords safe in a kind of self- made coding system; it’s worked well do far.
I know that we all want a simple password that we can remember and it makes it so much harder because we each have to remember, possibly 20 passwords, for various internet programs. I think there is a “password vault” you can by that is on the internet but I am unsure how “safe” our passwords would be kept in there. Anyway, something for us all to think about when we choose a password. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this information!
The solution to this would be to register one e-mail account where you register all other accounts from, with an uncommon password, but you will need to remember this one! Then, if you lose any of the other passwords, it won’t matter, because you will be able to retrieve it by using that e-mail address and the “I forgot my password” function on any other site.
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Smart! Thank you,haven’t thought of that!
That’s a good idea. Would registering all the passwords in one place on the internet not be risky?
For Christmas, I got a “Password Keeper” Vault. It works the way you explained but it isn’t on the internet and you can’t go in and tell it you forgot the password. If it could talk it would say, “Tough luck.” haha!