- 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%.
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.
- Significant dates, e.g.
- “Random” strings, which are actually just a simple pattern to type on a keyboard, e.g.
- References to the site on which the passwords were used, then subsequently breached, e.g.
- 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.
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 haveibeenpwned.com.
uni PIN Fine Line— 0.1mmBlack, PIN 01-200 BLACK, Archival ink