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Jay-Z or Cher? Our latest password data shows which artists are most popular in leaked passwords

(Last updated on March 16, 2021)

Specops Software released today the latest update to its Breached Password Protection list as well as the latest analysis of password data.

“This password data release is a fun one that continues to highlight how we humans choose our passwords,” said Darren James, Product Specialist with Specops Software. “We’re pretty predictable and hackers know this – which is why it’s important to block the use of known compromised passwords with a service like Specops Breached Password Protection.”

Today’s password data release coincides with the latest update to the Specops Breached Password Protection list, adding an additional 50 million passwords from recently discovered leaked lists.

In honor of the 2021 Grammy awards, our team analyzed over 800 million passwords for any entry containing the artist or group name on Wikipedia’s best-selling list.

The top 20 best-selling artists found in compromised passwords, by occurrence:

  1. R.E.M.
  2. Cher
  3. Pink
  4. Prince
  5. Kiss
  6. ABBA
  7. Queen
  8. Enya
  9. Drake
  10. Jay-Z
  11. Adele
  12. Eminem
  13. Eagles
  14. Usher
  15. ACDC
  16. Flo Rida
  17. Chicago
  18. Nirvana
  19. Genesis
  20. Metallica

Our team pulled a few head-to-head pairings to answer the question of which artist is more popular in leaked passwords.


While Rihanna holds the top spot on Wikipedia’s best-selling list, Beyoncé fans have a slight edge in honoring their favorite in their password but it’s a virtual tie.


While true that KISS may be benefiting from the general use of the word in passwords, Metallica fans are way less likely to show their fandom in their passwords.


When comparing the two piano players, our team found Sir Elton John’s name used slightly more in passwords than Billy Joel.

“We love sharing this data because it’s a fun look at the psychology of passwords,” continued James. “These passwords in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad passwords except for the fact that they ended up on a leaked password list and are used to attack networks. You can see for yourself how common these passwords are in your network if you run a scan with our free Specops Password Auditor.”

You can find out how many of your Active Directory users are using leaked passwords like these by running a free read-only scan with Specops Password Auditor. Read more and download it here.

There are ways to prevent people from using leaked passwords. Specops Breached Password Protection works together with Specops Password Policy so that companies can block all passwords found on the list of over 2 billion compromised passwords, making it easy to comply with industry regulations, such as NIST or Cyber Essentials. The service blocks people from choosing banned passwords and informs the user as to why they cannot use the password.

About Specops Software

Specops Software is the leading provider of password management and authentication solutions. Specops protects your business data by blocking weak passwords and securing user authentication. With a complete portfolio of solutions natively integrated with Active Directory, Specops ensures sensitive data is stored on-premises and in your control. Every day thousands of organizations use Specops Software to protect business data.

Media Contact Aimée Ravacon, Specops Software, +46846501241
Aimee.ravacon@specopssoft.com

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