A Theory on Passwords

By Deane Barker on May 26, 2005

I have a theory: if someone uses their first name (“Bob”) as their username for a particular application or network, what is the increased chance that their password will be their last name (“Johnson”)?

It just rolls off the keyboard: “first name, TAB, last name”. Someone needs to do a study to prove this theory. I bet people are 50% more likely to use their last name as their password when their first name is their username.



  1. Do we really need a study to proove this theory? I’ve performed enough tech support calls in person and by phone for email setup to proove it. Worse they usually use their first name plus a 1 or another number as the password, IF not the actual first name as the password. However more basic password confirmation pages will prevent the last one.

    Idiots are idiots.

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