The most popular usernames of all time revealed
FYI, this story is more than a year old
NordPass security experts are warning against neglecting username safety, as a new study has revealed the most popular usernames are mostly people's names.
NordPass has put together a list of the 200 most popular usernames of all time. Amongst the most popular is David, Alex, Maria, Anna, Marco, Antonio, and other popular names. The top username had nearly 1 million (875,562) hits.
Interestingly, usernames one would think might be quite common, such as admin or user, did not make the list of the 200 most popular usernames.
"While passwords remain the most important attribute when securing your accounts, security experts encourage users to pay attention to usernames too," says Chad Hammond, security expert at NordPass.
"Having an easy-to-guess username is dangerous. Essentially, you're giving out half of your login information," he says.
Hammond also warns that, for many different reasons, hackers target all personal information they can get their hands on, including usernames.
For example, in 2014, the social media platform Snapchat suffered from a data breach, during which hackers downloaded 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers. Many people used their own names and surnames as a username and, therefore, were easily recognizable. In addition, the combination of usernames and phone numbers opened the door to social engineering attacks like Youre receiving this SMS from Snapchat, and we need you to verify your password for account johnsmith.
"Some companies implement security policies around usernames. For example, many websites now automatically indicate whether your username is unique and will not allow you to register if its not," Hammond says.
NordVPN, for example, deploys randomly generated credentials for users who want to set up the app on their router or other devices. This way, the product ensures that users have only unique and complex credentials.
The top 20 usernames of all time:
How to create a secure username
When asked to summarise his top tips for username security, Hammond highlights the following:
1. Don't just use your name as a username
2. Avoid using the beginning of your email address as your username
3. Your username should be simple enough to remember but hard to guess
4. Never use easy-to-guess numbers with your usernames (for example, address or date of birth)
5. Don't use your social security number or ID number as your username
6. If you're struggling, try online username generators