We all know it by now, but most people are truly terrible at thinking up passwords. We’re talking about those of you still using “123456”, “qwerty”, and even “letmein”, despite so many warnings not to do so.
Every year, there is invariably a new list of the most popular passwords from the last 12 months, usually derived from the massive data breaches and dumps from hacked accounts that are now fairly commonplace. But each year there are also a few curious password choices among the inevitable “password” and “login” picks, most notably “dragon”.
Why are people so fond of using the password dragon? It seems like an odd addition to other passwords that might be slightly more understandable. Well, there may be a few factors at play here, as reported by Wired.
While it is easy to dismiss it as an artifact of Game of Thrones, The Hobbit, or Dungeons & Dragons, this might only be part of the reasoning why “dragon” – or some variant on it – is so popular. The word has been used in passwords long before Game of Thrones was on the scene, that’s for sure.
Interestingly, this might be partly down to a sampling error. The lists that come out detailing the most commonly used passwords tend to be based on data dumps containing accounts that have been hacked from various websites, such as Yahoo and Ashley Madison. It goes without saying that sites with the poorest security are most likely to get hacked, meaning we’re mostly seeing the passwords of those users.
Another factor might be the demographic most heavily represented in the dumps, which can be crudely calculated by judging a person’s age and gender on the email address associated with the password. Yes, this is rough, but analyses like these have shown a leaning towards men in their 30s, probably as a result of account dumps from more “adult” sites. Young guys using computers in the 1980s and until now were probably also quite into their D&D.
But as more hacks happen to an ever-increasing range of websites, "dragon" seems to remain popular. What it probably comes down to at the end of the day is the simple fact that people just really like dragons. In the west, at least, they are a prominent feature in our heritage and pop culture. From medieval stories to modern books and TV shows, the mythical beasts have become embedded in the minds of many of us.