Internet users have been warned to stay on top of their online security after it emerged that millions of people are still using ‘123456’ for their passwords.
The advice comes after a survey by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) revealed that many internet users are unaware of the best ways to protect themselves from cybercrime.
Less than half of the people surveyed said they used a separate password for their main email account.
A huge 85% of respondents admitted to not knowing ‘a great deal’ about how to protect themselves online.
One important thing internet users can do is to create unique passwords that would be difficult or impossible to guess.
Unfortunately, many people still use number sequences or simple words that leave their accounts vulnerable.
The top five passwords in the world are:
1 – 123456
2 – 123456789
3 – qwerty
4 – password
5 – 11111111
People’s names are also common passwords and best avoided. In the UK the top names that are used as passwords are Ashley, Michael, Daniel, Jessica and Charlie.
Interests and hobbies are also common passwords. The most common football team used for a password was ‘Liverpool’ while ‘Blink 182’ was the most used musical act.
NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy said: “We understand that cybersecurity can feel daunting to a lot of people, but the National Cyber Security Centre has published lots of easily applicable advice to make you much less vulnerable.
“Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided – nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favourite band.
“Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
The survey also revealed that 42% of people worry about losing money to online fraud – which highlights the need to take more care of their online security