The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have conducted a survey in the UK recently and have found some shocking statistics when it comes to the populations passwords strength.

According to the NCSC, 15% of the population use pets’ names, 14% use a family member’s name, and 13% pick a notable date. More findings on passwords included a sports team the user supported (6%), a string of numbers such as “123456” (6%), or a favourite TV show (5%).

NCSC communications director Nicola Hudson has commented on the findings stating:

“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. Millions of accounts could be easily breached by criminals using trial-and-error techniques.”

There are various issues with using passwords such as these. For example when using a dog’s name as a password, a hacker would simply be able to crack it by using a common list of pet names taking seconds to gain access to your account. The same can be said for using your birthday which can be just as easily guessed by cyber criminals by either trial and error or by gathering information from your social media profiles.

This survey conducted shows that a stronger password policy needs to be learned by the public and accounts where passwords are needed should enforce a stronger password to set up the account.

There are simple ways to make a passwords stronger just by adding extra words or different types of character such as ! or * and then combining with numbers, upper and lowercase letters. The NCSC advise for the public to use three random words that are unconnected, an example would be StarshipRedLegend.

If you or your business would like to find out more on best password practices or other cyber-related practices then please email securesoftware@borwell.com.

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