Estimating the size of Serie A fanbases using Pwned Passwords

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I had a bit of fun today poking around the Pwned Passwords data breaches. I wanted to see which Serie A team had the most fans based on the number of leaked passwords that can be reasonably associated with a specific team.


If you have ever wondered which Serie A fanbases are hit the hardest by security breaches, you've come to the right place. If this idea never crossed your mind, that's also very understandable!

Today, I had a bit of fun poking around the Pwned Passwords data dump. I wanted to determine which Serie A team had the biggest fanbase, using the frequency of leaked passwords that can be reasonably associated with a specific team.

For example, forzatoro (3,798) (that's Italian for "go Toro!") is clearly a password we can associate with Torino fans, and it's appeared in a data breach 3,798 times. Throughout this post, I will include several examples of passwords and next to them in parentheses the number of occurrences in Pwnd Passwords.

It's not surprising that passwords attract this sort of content. Despite the best efforts of security experts, people still reach for something they can easily recall and football clubs are extremely memorable for people.

Moreover, they work very well against annoying password requirements. Here's how I imagine it works for someone that's hell bent on using their favorite football club as a password:

Sign up

Hey, you need to use some capital letters!

Hey, you need to use some numbers!

Yay, you did it!

Do you need numbers in your passwords? Football clubs have memorable years of foundation or famous dates when they won trophies. If we look at Inter fans whose passwords were pwned, for example, we find inter (23,297), forzainter (21,941), and inter1908 (14,417) in the top three most used passwords. So in my search, I looked for different combinations of club names and foundation year.

I also looked for common combinations of capitalized words, without going too deep in SpOnGEbOb meme territory, this yielded some results, but in general the lowercase versions of each password appeared much more frequently: for instance, forzajuve (15,975), forzaJuve (16), ForzaJuve (65).

I couldn't overlook the obvious so I also searched for the name of the clubs. However, some teams carry the name of their city and some cities are big or famous enough that non-football fans may use their name as a password. For example, napoli (94,331), roma (15,054), or verona (23,381). So I excluded those queries.

Lastly, I manually added some passwords that I knew would return a significant number of hits, for instance, 26maggio (660) for Lazio fans to celebrate their Coppa Italia win against their rivals Roma in or 5maggio (582) for Juventus fans to celebrate their scudetto against Inter in .

I also included the names of some great players that I thought people would commemorate in their passwords. Here we find delpiero (41,087), maldini (13,979), totti10 (13,425). I notably excluded maradona (74,376) as I don't believe Napoli fans can claim him exclusively for themselves.

A final note about methodology: the Pwnd Passwords dump is about 40GB uncompressed, so to speed up the search I dropped all passwords with fewer than 16 occurrences, which results in a much more manageable 1.5GB text file. Why 16? Because forzasassuolo (17) was the least common password I could find in my manual explorations. You can find the code I ran on GitHub at TommasoAmici/serie-a-passwords.

With all that said, here are the final standings. You can find an extended table with results for each specific password at the bottom of this page.

TeamCount
Juventus306,731
Milan140,521
Roma83,457
Inter67,153
Lazio33,965
Fiorentina32,972
Napoli28,375
Verona15,232
Sampdoria14,954
Atalanta14,209
Genoa11,509
Torino7,210
Salernitana3,839
Udinese2,835
Spezia1,311
Empoli1,127
Sassuolo751
Bologna690
Cagliari662
Venezia90

Extended results

TeamPasswordCount
Juventus306,731
juventus213,620
delpiero41,087
forzajuve15,975
delpiero1014,009
Juventus8,336
juve4,349
juve18973,392
juventus18973,118
forzajuventus1,572
5maggio582
finoallafine340
forzajuve1897152
ForzaJuve189783
ForzaJuve65
ForzaJuventus18
forzajuventus189717
forzaJuve16
Milan140,521
acmilan46,991
milan30,808
forzamilan26,944
maldini13,979
milan18999,939
milanac5,034
maldini34,902
Milan1,332
forzamilan1899347
ForzaMilan199
forzaMilan26
ForzaMilan189920
Roma83,457
asroma25,803
forzaroma25,011
magica11,102
totti1013,425
asroma19279,968
totti5,306
roma19274,294
laziomerda2,568
francescototti2,098
dajeroma969
forzaroma1927807
francescototti10566
ForzaRoma120
forzamagica95
magica192756
Inter67,153
inter23,297
forzainter21,941
inter190814,417
fcinter3,477
interfc1,735
triplete998
Inter506
forzainter1908366
triplete2010244
ForzaInter98
maistatiinb30
ForzaInter190826
forzaInter18
Lazio33,965
sslazio9,624
forzalazio8,846
lazio19007,074
lazio4,905
romamerda2,246
26maggio660
forzalazio1900434
Lazio77
lulic7145
ForzaLazio27
ForzaLazio190027
Fiorentina32,972
fiorentina20,003
viola8,352
forzaviola2,764
Fiorentina745
fiorentina1926523
viola1926449
forzafiorentina103
forzaviola192633
Napoli28,375
forzanapoli14,879
napoli192611,216
sscnapoli1,377
forzanapoli1926852
ForzaNapoli51
Verona15,232
hellas12,911
hellasverona1,135
hellas1903762
verona1903204
hellasverona1903105
forzahellas94
forzaverona21
Sampdoria14,954
sampdoria11,644
doria901
samp527
samp1946471
sampdoria1946399
forzasamp372
Sampdoria290
forzadoria264
forzasampdoria48
doria194638
Atalanta14,209
atalanta9,003
dea3,378
atalanta19071,122
Atalanta375
dea1907258
forzaatalanta56
forzadea17
Genoa11,509
genoa18934,973
grifone2,755
forzagenoa1,635
genoa1,282
doriamerda524
grifone1893132
forzagenoa1893102
Genoa54
forzagrifone52
Torino7,210
forzatoro3,798
toro2,525
torino1906486
toro1906259
forzatorino63
ForzaToro43
forzatoro190636
Salernitana3,839
salernitana3,143
salernitana1919557
Salernitana101
forzasalernitana38
Udinese2,835
udinese2,558
forzaudinese115
Udinese93
udinese189669
Spezia1,311
spezia1,033
forzaspezia179
spezia190699
Empoli1,127
empoli916
forzaempoli124
empoli192059
Empoli28
Sassuolo751
sassuolo713
forzasassuolo17
Sassuolo21
Bologna690
forzabologna423
bologna1909267
Cagliari662
forzacagliari532
cagliari1920130
Venezia90
forzavenezia46
venezia190744
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