By Cheryl Kahla for The South African
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a UK cyber security watchdog, recently released their list of the most-used passwords on the Internet.
A quick look at the most common passwords is enough to know that a lot of work still needs to be done to educate computer users about cybersecurity.
The most common password was ‘123456’ which was beat out by ‘123456789’, ‘qwerty’, ‘password’ and ‘1111111’.
While these common passwords are incredibly problematic, the most pervasive problem for home internet users was a combination of these easily guessed passwords, and the fact they were being re-used across multiple sites.
Re-using passwords on multiple platforms
Password re-use is problematic as a security breach on one site could compromise a users security on every other site the password is in use.
NCSC technical director Ian Levy explains:
“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.
He added that re-using a password is a major risk which can be avoided because “nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed”.
Sports teams and first names are another common choices for passwords with ‘Ashley’ the most common name used as a password and ‘Liverpool’ the most common premier league football team name used as a password. ‘Blink182’ was the most common 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,” added Levy.
There are several password management tools available that can generate unique passwords and store them in a central place for users who want to take their online security to the next level.