Easy-to-Guess Passwords Are Risky

The British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says that too many people are using easy-to-guess passwords, including their pet's nameThey also commonly use a family members' names, significant dates, their favourite sports team, or even 'Password',  all putting them at risk of their accounts being compromised by cyber criminals.

Cyber security experts are urging people to create harder-to-crack passwords after new research found 15% of British people use their pet’s name as a log-in. The cyber security organisation is asking people to follow best practice by creating passwords using three random words to help better secure their online accounts.

It comes after a survey commissioned by the centre, which is part of GCHQ, found that many people were using passwords made up of things which can be easily predicted – including a pet’s name (15%), the name of a family member (14%), a significant date (13%) or a favourite sports team (6%).

A shocking result of the survey is that a further 6% admitted they used the word “password” as all or part of their password.

The NCSC study also found that more than a quarter of people had set up at least four new password-protected accounts in the last year, which the organisation said further highlighted the importance of using strong passwords, with more data than ever to protect. “We may be a nation of animal lovers, but using your pet’s name as a password could make you an easy target for callous cyber criminals,” NCSC director for policy and communications Nicola Hudson said. “I would urge everybody to visit cyberaware.gov.uk and follow our guidance on setting secure passwords which recommends using passwords made up of three random words... You can even use our Cyber Action Plan tool to generate tailored, free of charge advice to improve your security against online attacks.”

The NCSC’s Cyber Aware campaign also advises the public to use a strong, separate password for a user’s main email account and to save passwords in a web browser to help with managing them. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also argues that such passwords can make it easier for hackers to force their way into people’s accounts by simply guessing common pet names.

The NCSC  is advising people to follow ‘best practice’ by creating passwords using three random words to help better secure their online accounts rather than using just two, like ‘maddy_Mijas’ after a cat!

The top of the list of commonly used passwords was 123456, appearing more than 23 million times. The second-most popular string, 123456789, was not much harder to crack, while others in the top five included ‘qwerty’, ‘password’ and 1111111.

The most common name to be used in passwords was Ashley, followed by Michael, Daniel, Jessica and Charlie. When it comes to Premier League football teams in guessable passwords, Liverpool are ‘champions’ with Chelsea are second, Blink-182 topped the charts of music acts.

NCSC:          Kent Live:      In Your Area:     The Star:      Euro Weekly:    ZDNet

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