We all have so many internet passwords to remember that it's tempting to use the same one over and over again.
However, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning ahead of its annual conference that re-using passwords across multiple accounts creates a "major risk" to our online security.
The NCSC also revealed that the most commonly hacked passwords globally are “12345”, “123456789”, “qwerty”, “1111111” and that old classic "password".
In addition, the names Ashley, Michael, Daniel, Jessica and Charlie commonly appear in passwords made by UK internet users – as do the names of football teams, the superheroes Batman and Superman, the band blink-182, the fictional character Tigger and the word Pokemon.
Creating a password containing any of these names could make your account more vulnerable to being hacked, the NCSC warned.
NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy said: “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.
“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.”
Less than half of respondents to an NCSC survey said they had a strong and unique password for their main email account – a vital step in protecting your personal information online.
Margot James MP, the Digital and Creative Industries Minister, added: "There are some simple actions everyone can take to better protect against hackers. We shouldn't make their lives easy so choosing a strong and separate password for your email account is a great practical step."
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