Print Date
Print Duration
3 hours, 33 minutes, 36 seconds
Paper Size
11×14 in.
Distance Drawn
95.57 m

Working on the web, cyber-security is something I think about a lot. I wanted to incorporate an element of this into a plot, so decided to look into using data from password breaches as the basis for a design.

For a first attempt, I took a list of the top 100,000 breached passwords published by the National Cyber Security Centre, then randomly selected around 2000 entries. These were laid out on a page using a 2D Perlin noise algorithm to distribute them in a more natural arrangement than pure random numbers would achieve.

The following video shows the first few passwords being printed in real-time. The rest of the video covers around 2 hours of printing, sped up by 4000%.

No audio due to the excessive speed. The pen also drops at one point, but the errors are (mostly) covered up as the print progresses

Reading the passwords as they print is fascinating. It provides a glimpse into people’s approach to security. From what I've seen so far, there are plenty of examples of:

  • Firstname/number combinations, e.g. jessica1
  • Significant dates, e.g. 15031984
  • “Random” strings, which are actually just a simple pattern to type on a keyboard, e.g. asdfghjkl
  • References to the site on which the passwords were used, then subsequently breached, e.g. linkedin
  • Names of popular sports teams, TV shows, bands
  • Swear words, memes, or drug references – I’ll let you hunt for these 😂

The way the passwords build up in certain areas provides an interesting effect where they end up redacting each other. For later passwords this happens immediately, so they are never revealed. Some other passwords are left isolated and exposed.

A close-up of a smaller area, revealing passwords like "dragon420" and "cutie24"
Another close-up reveals "asdfghjkl123" and "chucknorris"

Regardless of the final appearance, the message is important. It’s unsettling to think that thousands of people have contributed to this piece, each with a private and potentially personal piece of information which was never intended to seen by anyone else.

These passwords and potentially millions more are all easily accessible online. Website data breaches are unfortunately common. To check if your details have been compromised in any public breaches, take a look at

For better password security, I’d suggest everyone uses a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass. If that seems like too much effort, at least try following the advice of this XKCD comic.

Pens used

  • uni PIN Fine Line

    Black, PIN 01-200 BLACK, Archival ink