Fraudsters crack 23 MILLION passwords – because they are all 123456! Red alert as Britons are warned not to leave themselves wide open to cyber crime
- Cyber chiefs issued a red alert to UK web users to upgrade their online security
- National Cyber Security Centre said one in two people will have money stolen
- Only 15 per cent of British internet users know how to protect themselves online
Britons are being warned not to leave themselves wide open to internet fraud by using easily guessed passwords.
Cyber chiefs issued a red alert to the nation’s web users to upgrade their online security after revealing millions of us use passwords that are as basic as ‘123456’ or ‘password’.
A survey by National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – part of spy agency GCHQ – found nearly one in two people expect to have money stolen from them online by 2021.
Britons are being warned not to leave themselves wide open to internet fraud by using easily guessed passwords
It also revealed that only 15 per cent of British internet users say they know a great deal about protecting themselves online.
The findings come ahead of a major CyberUK 2019 conference in Glasgow this week, organised by the NCSC. The research also included a list of the most commonly breached passwords.
It showed the log-on ‘123456’ was hacked over 23 million times worldwide and ‘123456789’ almost eight million times. Other log-on that were regularly compromised included ‘qwerty’ – the series of letters which appear in a line on a computer keyboard – as well as just ‘password’ and even ‘1111111’.
Passwords which simply used first names including Ashley, Michael, Daniel, Jessica and Charlie were also hacked hundreds of thousands of times. Out of football teams, those who used Liverpool were most likely to fall victim to computer crooks. Blink 182 was the most common music act password to be breached.
NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy urged internet users to strengthen their log-ins. He said: ‘We understand that cyber security can feel daunting to a lot of people but the NCSC has published lots of easily applicable advice to make you much less vulnerable.
Cyber chiefs issued a red alert to the nation’s web users to upgrade their online security after revealing millions of us use passwords that are as basic as ‘123456’ or ‘password’
‘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.’
Security researcher Troy Hunt, whose website Have I Been Pwned allows users to check if any of their accounts have been compromised in a data breach, helped compile the list of breached passwords.
He said: ‘Making good password choices is the single biggest control consumers have over their own personal security posture.’
Digital Minister Margot James also warned that ‘cyber breaches can cause huge financial and emotional heartache.’
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