“A malicious actor can’t “guess” a user’s biometrics, and while the threat of spoofing is real, it certainly doesn’t take less than a second.”
Password manager platform NordPass has revealed its list of the most popular passwords of 2020, revealing the continuation of disturbing trends in poor password hygiene.
For IT security experts, the most dispiriting finding is likely the ongoing popularity of the simple “12345” password and its variations. Last year, “12345” was the most popular password; this year, it has fallen to 8th place in NordPass’s list, with the top spot now occupied by the innovative “123456”.
Also disturbing is the enormous popularity of “123456”, which has been used by over 2.5 million NordPass users, compared to the 961,000 using the second-ranked password, “123456789”. Both of these passwords would take less than a second to crack, as would “12345” and the majority of other passwords on NordPass’s 200-item list.
Password manager platforms offer a solution to such poor password practices. But NordPass’s list also offers a good illustration of why biometric authentication is so important, and why it’s rising in popularity. A malicious actor can’t “guess” a user’s biometrics, and while the threat of spoofing is real, it certainly doesn’t take less than a second.
Biometric authentication can also offer considerable convenience – another crucial element in the effort to replace password-based security. Users tend to stick with simple, easy-to-remember passwords because it’s convenient. But smartphone-based fingerprint authentication or a simple face scan over a webcam can be just as convenient while offering vastly improved security.
That having been said, biometric security trends don’t offer the same kind of cultural insights that passwords can. As NordPass notes, for example, “onedirection” was 184th on last year’s list, but isn’t on this year’s list at all. In 2020, is the boy band pretty much washed? Biometric data certainly wouldn’t offer any clues.
November 18, 2020 – by Alex Perala