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Britons Embrace Ease of Use over Online Security, Study Shows

Photo credits: Pixabay / stux

Almost 75% of Britons are securing their online information with easy-to-guess passwords, exposing their information to the risk of theft by hackers, according to a government survey.

Britons often use passwords such as a pet’s name, their place of birth or something related to a favorite sports team.

According to The Independent, this security flaw echoes a survey of millions of pieces of stolen login data logged throughout 2014, which found the most common passwords to be “123456” and “password.”

The 10 most-used passwords worldwide in 2014 are easily guessable: 1. 123456; 2. Password; 3. 12345; 4. 12345678; 5. Qwerty; 6. 123456789; 7. 1234; 8. Baseball; 9. Dragon; 10. Football. In 2014, the top 10 passwords represented about 1% of passwords exposed, according to Splash Data. Passwords comprised of numbers alone, especially sequences, should be avoided.

Consumers are reluctant to protect their accounts with multiple strong passwords, yet they worry weak ones will leave them vulnerable to hackers, multiple studies show. Out of a lack of awareness, users are not taking the steps needed to decrease online risks, as HOTforSecurity has previously reported.

According to Microsoft a strong password:

  • is at least eight characters long.
  • does not contain your user name, real name or company name.
  • does not contain a complete word.
  • is significantly different from previous passwords.
  • contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols found on the keyboard.

Remember your strong password by following these tips:

  • Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information. For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
  • Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124(it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
  • Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could become ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n.

61% of consumers have not enabled two-factor authentication for any online accounts. Here is a simple guide that helps you enable this feature.

About the author

Răzvan MUREȘAN

Former business journalist, Razvan is passionate about supporting SMEs into building communities and exchanging knowledge on entrepreneurship. He enjoys having innovative approaches on hot topics and thinks that the massive amount of information that attacks us on a daily basis via TV and internet makes us less informed than we even think. The lack of relevance is the main issue in nowadays environment so he plans to emphasize real news on hotforsecurity.com

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  • “Remember your strong password by following these tips”

    Those are terrible ideas. Anything that can be (fairly if not incredibly) easily gathered by an attacker, is a bad idea for a base of a password.

    They are obviously better than those listed – the typical ones (qwerty, any sequence, password, variations of these, etc.) – and they are better than names or dates by themselves, but to use information that are so easily gathered… (I’m not talking about methods of creation so much as the themes – although these methods will never be as complex as one a password manager or simply a password generator would be able to create).