The world’s worst password is still “123456”. And many staff in the East Midlands keep using it every day, despite huge security risks.

Local data security expert Lee Hewson, owner of IT support company Your IT Department says a password that weak can be cracked instantly.

“When cyber criminals are trying to break into a business’s systems, the first thing they will try are thousands of obvious passwords,” he said.

“They use clever automated software to do this for them. So it only takes one of your staff to use a weak password, and your entire system is wide open to any hacker.”

The world’s most common passwords of 2021 were announced by tech firm SplashData. It examined millions of passwords leaked by hackers.

The top 10 most used passwords in 2021 are:

  • 123456
  • 123456789
  • qwerty
  • password
  • 1234567
  • 12345678
  • 12345
  • iloveyou
  • 111111
  • 123123

Lee added: “The biggest risk from using a weak password is ransomware. This is where your data is encrypted until you pay a ransom fee. It’s terrifying to see, and very hard to undo once an attack has launched.

“We recommend to all local businesses they put in place a series of security measures, especially the use of a password manager for all staff. This will generate long random passwords and remember them.”

For further information on creating and remembering strong passwords, please visit https://www.your-itdepartment.co.uk/knowledge-bank/password-exhaustion/