A leading cyber-security company is warning people to choose their passwords carefully after research showed how obvious many are.
C3IA Solutions, based in Poole, Dorset, says businesses particularly are failing to understand the importance of protecting their information.
The company was one of the first to be certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which has issued details of the most common passwords.
Top of the list of hacked passwords was ‘123456’ followed by ‘123456789’.
Other popular ones include ‘qwerty’, ‘1111111’ and millions still use ‘password’ as their password.
Football fans are sometimes easy to hack with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton being the most popular clubs’ names used as passwords.
Matt Horan, security director of C3IA Solutions, said: “Cyber-crime is a growing problem and so often hackers are able to gain access to systems because the passwords are too obvious.
“We work with many businesses and one thing that we often find is that their passwords are predictable.
“Predictable passwords make them easier to remember, but they make systems easier to hack.
“The official advice is to use three random words that are memorable to you but hard for others to guess.
“Remember that hackers will quickly move on to a new target if they can’t get into your system.
“Sometimes we find that people use their own names as their password, it can be that simple.
“More than half of British firms have reported an attempted cyber-attack this year, according to research by insurer Hiscox.
“And many simply don’t realise the cost in time and money until they have experienced a successful attack.
“You wouldn’t leave your doors unlocked when you leave your office at night, and in the same way you shouldn’t leave your systems vulnerable to a break-in.”