The first Thursday in May marks World Password Day - yes, this is a thing - and it's there to help remind us all of the continued importance of online safety.
Security breaches are never welcome, but in an effort to find something positive about hacked details being published online we can use the information as an educational tool.
Our password security is awful according to the latest analysis by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Millions of us are using easy-to-guess passwords, with nearly half of the most common leaked passwords beginning with "123".
If we wanted to access your computer, might your password be 123456? There are more than 23 million of you using this, so it’s worth a hacker giving it a try. Then there are 3.8 million using “qwerty” or could we guess it is the name of your football team? Perhaps 123BHA?
None of us should protect our sensitive data with something that can be easily guessed, like your first name, local football team or favourite band.
Passwords are a pain – a pain to remember, and a pain to use, but they are still so important for your online safety. Making good password choices is the single biggest control you have over your own personal security. Passwords remain the most likely result for a successful account takeover and are an important first step in helping to create a more secure online presence.
For businesses, we recommend you use software such as a Password Manager. But if you don’t want to do this there are other ways of making your passwords more secure. For starters, use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and symbols. Try and avoid using anything too obvious such as your house number, pets name or grandchildren’s names. And make sure that you don't use the same password for everything that you need to login to.