What do passwords and lottery tickets have in common? You might be surprised at how much they have in common.
Last week, October 23 2018, someone in South Carolina bought the winning ticket for just under $1.6billion. If they choose to take all of the money today, it’s about half that amount. Lotteries have existed for a long time. Lotteries were a popular way to raise money before companies began issuing stock shares to raise capital. The Virginia Company, which funded Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, in 1607, raised money by selling lottery tickets in London, and other British cities.
There are two options for selecting numbers to win a lottery ticket. The consumer can choose his or her numbers or they can be randomly generated.
The psychology behind selecting lottery numbers is very similar to the way most people create passwords. Many people will create a password with a familiar date, birthday, anniversary, or other information. Others will use a common pattern such as a keyboard combination (1QAZ-2WSX), the first two rows of keyboard keys. Some users will use a “base” password as the foundation for all their passwords, but only one or two letters will be changed for each site.
All of these techniques make password cracking easy for attackers. Attackers often use dates (who hasn’t posted their anniversary on Facebook? as well as known keyboard combinations to break user passwords.
Randomly generated passwords are the most secure. A password manager that uses a random password generator is the best way to create and store random passwords.
Although it won’t win you the lottery jackpot, randomly generated passwords can help protect all your accounts.