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Visualizing Semantics in Passwords

The Role of Dates

Rafael Veras, Julie Thorpe and Christopher Collins

This visualization shows the dates we extracted from a database of 32 million real passwords. In each view, the darker the colours indicate more passwords corresponding to that date/year. The default view shows the trends for the entire period of time considered (1900-2012). It's possible to narrow down the analysis by selecting specific decades, years and days (click on help for a guide on how to interact with the views). The actual passwords corresponding to the selected time period are displayed in the wordle view. In this work, we begin an investigation into the semantic patterns underlying user choice in passwords, which can be used to inform usable password policies and password guidelines. We found that nearly 5% of the examined passwords represent pure dates (either purely numerical or mixed alphanumeric representations) and the presence of many patterns within the dates that people choose (such as repetition, the first days of the month, recent years, and holidays).

For more information, please read our paper.

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