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3/23/2015
02:15 PM
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Worst Sports-Related Passwords

March Madness and Spring Training underway. NFL draft and NBA playoffs soon to come. Your users may be even more tempted than ever to create some of these bad sports-related passwords

To be a sports fan is to know pain. Yet no matter how terrible your favorite team's record is that season, attackers will have no mercy on those who use that team's name, in all lowercase letters, as their password. 

New information from Splash Data shows that the 25 most common sports-themed passwords -- the ones hackers will be most likely to try in a brute force attack -- bear no relation to the recent success of the team.

The top two passwords, "baseball," and "football," made it onto Splash Data's top 10 most common passwords list (numbers 8 and 10, respectively) earlier this year. The full 25 are:

1.    baseball
2.    football
3.    hockey
4.    jordan
5.    soccer
6.    yankees
7.    jordan23
8.    eagles
9.    golfer
10.  steelers
11.  rangers
12.  lakers
13.  arsenal
14.  cowboys
15.  tigers
16.  tennis
17.  nascar
18.  raiders
19.  angels
20.  redsox
21.  packers
22.  giants
23.  redskins
24.  gators
25.  dolphins

There are some tempting ways to interpret these figures, which in no way reflect the biases of this author (in other words, which in every way reflect the biases of this author). For example, that basketball fans are generally quite intelligent about their password selection practices, with the exception of those foolish Los Angeles Lakers fans ("lakers"). And that New York Yankees fans ("yankees") are by far the most feeble-minded password creators in the baseball world. Yet, being a sports fan with an illogical loathing for the Lakers and Yankees, this author would say something like that, wouldn't she?

A fairer way to interpret it: the wider the fan base, the more common the password, the more likely the target. There are a few other things worth noting in this data, too.

Although baseball, soccer, hockey, and basketball teams do appear on the top 25, the names of NFL teams show up most often ("eagles," "steelers," "cowboys," "raiders," "packers," "giants," "redskins," "dolphins"). So if you know you work in an office full of football fans, urge them to enhance their passwords (especially if the local team is in the NFC East division).  

Also worth noting is that the adoration of basketball hero Michael Jordan ("jordan," "jordan23") endures, 12 years after he retired from playing basketball (for the third time). 

While "baseball," "football," "hockey," "soccer," "nascar," "tennis," and "golfer" all appear in the top 25, "basketball" does not -- possibly because the word surpasses the character limit of some password systems.

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The most glaringly obvious characteristic of these passwords, of course, is that, with the exception of "jordan23," they are all lowercase letters, with no capitals, numerals, or special characters. This is not a problem that can be blamed solely on end users; the sites and services that accept these passwords are just as at fault.

“Being a super fan of any team or athlete doesn’t mean you should put your identity at risk with easily guessable passwords,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “It’s okay to use your favorite team as part of a password, but you should try to make it unique by adding spaces or other characters plus numbers or other words to make the password harder to crack.”

So, as the NCAA basketball tournament goes on, if the Kentucky, Duke, or Gonzaga fans in your user base are inspired to show their school spirit when choosing passwords, encourage them to at least throw some numerals, capital letters, and special characters in. At least try for something as complicated as "W!1dcats" "[email protected]!l0ka4," or "G0Zag$Go." 

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio
 

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HAnatomi
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HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2015 | 9:16:05 PM
Re: What we cannot recall cannot be a password
As mentioned in my earlier post, it is related to the cognitive phenomenon called "inerference of memory".  Should you be interested to know more, please refer to

" www.slideshare.net/HitoshiKokumai/identity-assurance-expanded-password-system "

which is my text book.

 
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2015 | 2:52:41 PM
Re: What we cannot recall cannot be a password
I have trouble remembering one password, let alone many, and just when I've figured out a strong password that I can actually remember, they go and mke you change it. So I do variations, and then I can't remember which ones I've used where. 

How would images be any better?
theb0x
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theb0x,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2015 | 1:24:52 PM
Re: too many 6 char passwords
Dashlane applies 10,000+ rounds of PBKDF2 Salt to the user's password hashes. This makes an offline brute force attempt near impossible even if the chosen passwords are limited to 6 characters with the exception of the resourses of the NSA.
HAnatomi
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HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2015 | 10:49:39 PM
What we cannot recall cannot be a password
Being able to create many strong passwords is one thing and being able to recall all of them is another.

At the root of the password headache is the cognitive phenomena called "interference of memory", by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average. What worries us is not the password, but the textual password. The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember. We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory. More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 2:01:12 PM
Re: Fault in the Coding
Also, unsecured how? I would imagine that there is a master password and data encryption to an extent...If not, there are many other freeware products that will perform minimal encryption and even more that can perform this unsecured.
RyanSepe
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50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 1:58:42 PM
Re: Fault in the Coding
Frequent bug fixes and updates are crucial in any type of software. Where does Dashlane store the passwords on the local device?
jastroff
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50%
jastroff,
User Rank: Strategist
3/24/2015 | 1:54:39 PM
Re: Fault in the Coding
Re: Dashlane and others

I read various comparisons, and selected Dashlane -- for personal use. For the year I've had it it's been great. A little buggy, and not as stable on mobile as I would like, but as this point, I can't and don't want to live without it. Good customer service, and they tend do upgrades to fix issues.
jastroff
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50%
jastroff,
User Rank: Strategist
3/24/2015 | 1:52:55 PM
Re: Fault in the Coding
re: Dashlane

the unsecured part is free

the better part you pay for
Dr.T
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50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 1:27:11 PM
Re: too many 6 char passwords
Forget about six characters, it is not complex. Six character is not that bad if you can make it numbers with special characters, I have not heard that being cracked yet.
Dr.T
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50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2015 | 1:25:04 PM
Re: Fault in the Coding
I have not heard Dashlane, just checked it, it seems ok, you can use it in your smart phone. The main problem with it is that it is free. I wonder when it is going to get hacked.
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