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Cybercrime for dummies: cracking internet passwords is as easy as 123456

Cybercrime for dummies: cracking internet passwords is as easy as 123456

Cybercriminals are using increasingly devious scams to con internet users into revealing precious online information. Yet millions of people have saved fraudsters the bother of deploying trickery and temptation by picking bizarrely simple passwords that feature on a new hotlist of online security howlers.

One of them, for example, is “password”.

Simply typing in the word has allowed fraudsters to gain access to a staggering 3.6m accounts worldwide, according to a comprehensive review by the National Cyber Security Centre.

However, it was far from the most common password to gift them easy access. Some 23.2 million people used “123456” as their password, only to find their code was cracked. Another 3.8 million were caught out using “qwerty” – the first six letters on the top left of a standard keyboard.

The worrying lapses in online security emerge in a review of the top 100,000 passwords to be unlocked by online fraudsters, carried out by the NCSC – part of the GCHQ intelligence agency. Using favourite names, football teams, bands and fictional characters also exposed millions to hacking. The advice from the centre is simple – using three random words as a password should keep your information safe.

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