Pet names used by millions of people as passwords, according to a survey

A little puppy is held in the owner's hand in front of a laptop keyboard

A little puppy is held in the owner’s hand in front of a laptop keyboard

Studies show that millions of British people use their pet’s name as their online password, despite being vulnerable to hackers.

According to the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC), 15% of the population uses pet names, 14% use family names, and 13% choose notable dates.

Also, 6% of people use “passwords” as all or part of their passwords.

NCSC urged people to choose random words that they couldn’t guess instead.

Other problematic passwords included user-supported sports teams (6%), a series of numbers such as “123456” (6%), or favorite TV shows (5%).

About 40% of respondents say they have never used one of these easily guessed items as part of their password.

“We may be an animal lover’s country, but using a pet’s name as a password can be a target for ruthless cybercriminals,” NCSC Communications Director Nicola Hudson warned.

This is because the pet’s name can be decrypted by simply inserting the names of common pets such as Bella, Coco, Luna, and Milo repeatedly. Or the name of another very common pet.

The same logic applies to family names and birthdays. All of this can also be collected from social media.

“Millions of accounts can easily be compromised by criminals using trial and error techniques,” NCSC warned.

Analysis box by cyber reporter Joe Tydy

Analysis box by cyber reporter Joe Tydy

This study once again shows that people are still failing to protect themselves in the simplest way.

It’s not good to use pet or child names, but the most harmful form of password self-satisfaction is to use the same password on multiple sites and services.

My inbox is regularly filled with complaints from people whose Instagram account has been hacked or their Spotify membership has been stolen. This is usually due to the weakness of repeating this password.

Unfortunately, businesses are constantly being hacked, and if emails and passwords are compromised, their details are shared and sold in a huge database of the hacker community.

If you log in to another app using the same email address and password, hackers will be able to log in as well.

So you might have a nice and unique password, but if it’s in one of these database lists, criminals can unlock your entire Internet life with just a few clicks.

NCSC instead Ask people to choose three random, unconnected words As a password. The example they provide is the “Red Pants Tree”, which is unlikely to be used anywhere else online.

We also recommend that you add an exclamation point or other symbol to the end of your site as needed and store your password in your web browser’s password manager. This makes it easy to use different passwords for different sites.

It also requires people to use individual, unique and secure passwords for emails, which are often used to reset passwords for other services.

NCSC also states that the blockade last year increased online accounts, with 27% creating four or more password-protected accounts.

The survey was conducted in early March, targeting 1,282 adults.