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Why is “ji32k7au4a83” an unreliable password?

Credit: Pexels

Everyone has the difficulty of making up password online.  In the ideal scenario your password should be made up of lower and upper case letters, a number and a special character as well as being at least 8 characters long. However it turns out that a password like ji32k7au4a83 is not any more secure than a password as simple as 123 456.  Why is this still considered an unreliable password?  

Passwords that we all know we shouldn’t use

The list of the worst passwords that you can use includes some obvious choices like the word “password”, “123 456”, “abc123″, 111 111”, “000000” or even “666 666”. However as incredible as it might seem the password ji32k7au4a83 is also regularly used as well.  This might seem surprising as this password seems to be relatively complicated and a good recommended length that it should be fairly secure.  Or at least you’d like to think it was…

The website called HaveIBeenPwnd (HIBO) allows you to type in a password so that you can check whether it has been involved in a massive breach of date or a big hacking.  However ji32k7au4a83 has been seen 141 times by this platform.  Although this figure is far from the 23 million times for a simple password like 123 456, it is surprising that such a complicated password like that could be seen by this site!

Credits: HaveIBeenPwnd

Asking social media for help…

Robert Ou is an engineer from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Berkley (United States)  He has been carrying out research to understand more about this mysterious password ji32k7au4a83 and was questioning Twitter users on the 28 February 2019.

“Fun thing I learned today regarding secure passwords: the password “ji32k7au4a83″ looks like it’d be decently secure, right? But if you check e.g. HIBP, it’s been seen over a hundred times. Challenge: explain why and how this happened and how this password might be guessed”

Eventually Robert Ou found the answer to his question. It involves looking into the Chinese and Taiwanese language.  Taiwanese, unlike the continental Chinese, use a phonetic transcription of Chinese characters called ZhuYin.  For example the association of ㄨ + ㄛ is pronounced as “oo + o”.  The password  “ji32k7au4a83” is actually the transliteration of wǒ de mìmǎ” (我的密碼) which means “my password” or more literally “my secret password”.

Of course this is bound to make you chuckle as simple passwords can be found in any language. However in any case the ji32k7au4a83 mystery is not easy for us Westerners to understand!

Sources : The Verge – Presse Citron

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