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.