Top 10 passwords that leave you open to a cyber attack

Caitlin Morrison
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Are your passwords secure? (Source: Getty)

Very few people are immune to the struggle that is trying to keep track of the passwords to all the various online accounts that come part and parcel of modern life.

With passwords required for everything from email accounts to online banking and shopping, it's understandable that people will opt for something easy to remember - but it seems a lot of us are taking this approach too far.

Researchers from Lancaster University, and Peking and Fujian Normal universities in China, analysed the massive breach of Yahoo data earlier this year - and their work has revealed that the most popular passwords remain '123456' and 'password'.

Dr Jeff Yan, a Lancaster University expert, said the popularity of simple and easy to crack passwords was a sign that people do not understand the implications of a cyber breach.

"Why do [some] use such obvious passwords? A main reason I think is that they’re either unaware of or don’t understand the risks of online security," he said.

"Just like everybody knows what one should do when red lights are on in the road, eventually everybody will know 123456 or the like is not a good password choice."

Top 10 passwords
  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. welcome
  4. ninja
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 12345678
  8. sunshine
  9. princess
  10. qwerty

Aside from the ten most popular choices, the researchers said people often base their passwords on personal information such as names, ages and birthdays - all of which could make it easy for hackers to access their accounts.

The findings are in line with research released by SplashData last year, which showed the three most popular passwords globally were '123456', 'password' and '12345'.

Some companies have started taking steps to limit home much damage a password leak can do, by using new technology such as voice recognition software as an added security measure.

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