From pets names to pin numbers: Brits reveal their bad password habits which leave them open to hackers

What Mobile
May 2, 2019

One in five (21%) Brits only use up to three different passwords for all of their online logins, leaving their personal data more easily accessible to cybercriminals

—        The top ten password inspirations revealed, with pets names taking first place

—        30% of Brits only change their passwords when prompted to do so

Staying safe online has never been so important. Last year, 17 million UK residents fell victim to cybercrime1 and with the number of websites, apps, and social accounts continuing to grow, it can be difficult to remember individual passwords for them all. New research delves into the nations password habits, to reveal how secure our personal data really is.

Ahead of National Password Day (2nd May), mobile phone insurance provider, Insurance2go, polled the British public to find out how many different passwords people have, how they generate them and how often they are updated.

The insight reveals that 11 million Brits* (21%) only use between one to three passwords for all their online accounts or profiles, 8% use the same password for everything and over a quarter (28%) use between four to six. However, finding inspiration for new passwords is easier said than done, so turning to our surroundings, memories or favourite things is often the first port of call when it comes to generating new logins.

The UK’s most common password inspirations:

  1. Pets name (23%)
  2. Family member’s birthday (15%)
  3. Favourite place (14%)
  4. Birthday (13%)
  5. Maiden name (11%)
  6. The school I went to (11%)
  7. Favourite number (10%)
  8. Partner’s name (9%)
  9. Favourite sports team (9%)
  10. Partner’s birthday (9%)

Alongside these memorable facts, Brits also turn to wedding anniversaries, favourite films, nicknames and 7% even use their pin number within their passwords!

When it comes to keeping our online passwords private, the majority of the nation (62%) said they do keep them close to their chest. However, a fifth (21%) confessed to sharing at least one password with a family member. Only 15% confessed to sharing a password with a partner.

Aaron Nolan, Cybersecurity specialist from Spector said: “Password Security is a fundamental matter, and that should not be taken lightly. Over 80% of hacking-related incidents use either weak or stolen passwords, so this is often one of the first things a Cyber Criminal will try to use against you.

“Even a strong password can quickly be compromised if you use the same one for every website and account you create. Cybercriminals are continually harvesting passwords from data breaches, and if you only use one password, they will eventually guess it. When they do, they will have access to most of your accounts, so the potential for damage is enormous.

“Changing your password slightly is not the best idea in terms of cybersecurity. If a criminal is targeting you, or if they already know your password, they’ll easily be able to guess the others, so make sure to have a substantial difference between each one you use. The easiest way to go about it is to use a tool like a password manager, which will facilitate the task of remembering all of them for you.”

Lorraine Higham, Managing Director at Insurance2go, said: “Browsing the internet is an everyday occurrence for many of us and the need to create logins for different websites and accounts is becoming increasingly popular. From your online bank account to your social media pages, it’s important to make sure you have a strong password which doesn’t leave you open to cybercriminals who are after your personal information.

“It’s important to ensure you are mixing up your passwords and updating these every few months, without waiting for the website to send a reminder and also not using any personal information such as part of your address or date of birth within these passwords. Including this type of personal data can make passwords easier to remember but could also leave you open to hackers. If needed, set reminders in your own calendars and use password generating websites to provide inspiration.”

For tips and tricks on how to keep your online accounts secure please visit:

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