Are you using one of these top 5 passwords?

23 Apr, 2019

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have conducted their first UK Cyber Survey and released details of the most commonly used passwords.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have conducted their first UK Cyber Survey and found ‘123456’ was the most commonly used password on breached accounts, being used by over 23 million victims.

Details of the top 100,000 passwords have been released by the NCSC and they are urging users to change their passwords immediately if it is listed within the file.  Some of the top passwords include:

Most used in totalNamesPremier League football teamsMusicians Fictional characters
123456
(23.2m)
ashley
(432,276)
liverpool
(280,723)
blink182
(285,706)
superman
(333,139)
123456789
(7.7m)
michael
(425,291)
chelsea
(216,677)
50cent
(191,153)
naruto
(242,749)
qwerty
(3.8m)
daniel
(368,227)
arsenal
(179,095)
eminem
(167,983)
tigger
(237,290)
password
(3.6m)
jessica
(324,125)
manutd
(59,440)
metallica
(140,841)
pokemon
(226,947)
1111111
(3.1m)
charlie
(308,939)
everton
(46,619)
slipknot
(140,833)
batman
(203,116)

These days we need a password or PIN for everything we touch and as much as we all hate them (and curse them when we input them incorrectly!) deep down, we all know that they are there to protect us and our valuable information.

So, what can you do to help yourself?

Dr Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director, advises “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.”

Some tips for extra protection: 

  • It sounds obvious but NEVER give your password away. If it does need to be given to a system administrator make sure this is done in person (not via e-mail or telephone) and that it is a trusted source.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. If it is cracked once, they will have access to everything.
  • Do not write passwords down on sticky notes left on computer monitors. If you must write down passwords then do so very carefully. Use a related thought or a convoluted phrase to jog your memory. Write it on paper which is carried on you in person and stored in a safe place at home. Don’t store them written down on an online document stored on your computer.
  • Be aware of people ‘shoulder surfing’ as you are inputting passwords.

What can you do as a business?  

  • Set a strong password policy for staff and get staff to sign to confirm they have read it.
  • Remind employees about hacking risks.
  • Teach new staff about good password practices.
  • Provide resources to staff about good password practices.
  • Ensure staff have different passwords for different things.
  • Put in place lockouts on computers for incorrect password attempts.
  • Make sure that staff change default passwords immediately.
  • Blacklist certain passwords, so this could be the names of staff, the name of the business or anything you feel that links to the individuals that could be easily guessed or hacked.

Effective password management is only part of the story. It’s also useful to think about general user education, good physical security (no documents lying around the office), firewalls and being aware of security risks. ISO 27001 can help you with your processes and information security.  To find out more, please visit our website or call us on 0330 058 5551.

If you already have ISO 27001 and are looking to get the most out of your Standard, we also offer training.

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

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