Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images
Scientists have revealed the most commonly used passwords in a recent hacking incident.
So which passwords leave you most exposed, why are we so prone to picking the risky ones, and how can we choose a password that's memorable and yet difficult for a hacker to guess?
Fight back - latest on scams
According to a report in Yahoo News
, an IT security company has identified the passwords which emerged most regularly in a list of hacked accounts.
It analysed 440,000 passwords which were posted online after an alleged breach of Yahoo security on Wednesday, and discovered that despite repeated recommendations to come up with something difficult to guess, the most commonly hacked passwords are a piece of cake for hackers to break.
Fight back - latest on scams
Most commonly hacked
ESET, the Slovakian company behind the study, said that the most common password in the list of hacked accounts was 123456, followed by 'password' and 'welcome'. In all over 1,500 people had plumped for the numerical sequence, while 780 went for password, and almost 450 for welcome.
The report also quoted figures from SplashID, which said 'password' is the most commonly used password, while the numerical sequence is in the top three.
The rest of the top ten most hacked passwords included a number that were a mixture of very simple numerical and alphabetical sequences like abc123 (used 250 times), 123456789 (used 222 times), 12345678 (used 208 times) and qwerty (used 172 times).
There were also some common words, including ninja (used 333 times), sunshine (used 205 times) and princess (used 202 times).
Clearly the reason we pick these common passwords is that they are easy to remember. Using a sequence of keys we can press without thinking, or a common word or nickname, is bound to be the best way to ensure we don't forget our password.
It's pointless going to the trouble of creating a series of passwords that require a mind like a steel trap to recall every time you want to do anything online.
However, with account hacking on the rise, and several high-profile breaches reported from a host of sites from Yahoo to LinkedIn, it's worth finding a new solution.
Choose a strong password
There are three surefire ways to come up with a password that no-one but you will know.
1. Come up with a common phrase or a line from a song, and use the first letter from each word. So 'I Got The Moves Like Jagger' becomes IGTMLJ and 'Why Does It Always Rain on Me?' becomes WDIAROM.
2. Think of a password, then type in the letters next to each letter on the keyboard. So if your chosen password was SUMMER, you could shift left and your password would become AYNNWE.
3. Use a piece of software to set and remember passwords. There are loads of them, such as lastpass and roboform. Most of them make you log into the software, then when you sign into a new website it will automatically generate a user name and password that no-one would remember (which is rated as 'strong' by the sites).
It will then remember them for you, so that each time you go back to the site it will input the password for you. All you have to remember is your password for the software.
But what do you think? What's your trick for remembering a unique password? Let us know in the comments.
1. 123456 1666
2. password 780
3. welcome 436
4. ninja 333
5. abc123 250
6. 123456789 222
7. 12345678 208
8. sunshine 205
9, princess 202
10. qwerty 172
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<p>It is reasonable to assume that if you take out a mobile phone contract at £30 a month for 24 months that's exactly what you'll pay unless you exceed the tariff. Yet mobile phone providers have come under fire for a snag buried in the small print – a clause to allow mid-contract price rises.</p>
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