Weak email account passwords for nearly all security breaches in the workplace over last year

A new study by Custard Technical Services has revealed the most common hacking technique that workers across the UK have experienced over the last year.

The UK-based IT support and security company discovered that weak passwords were accountable for 82 per cent of security breaches in the workplace where Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) systems were not in place – hackers are constantly attacking the passwords of non-MFA businesses using automated systems.

In November, NordPass published its annual list of the 200 most common passwords being used in 50 countries across the world. Their data revealed that ‘123456’ is the most popular password in 43 of those countries and is being used by 103,170,552 people.

If your password features on the list below, stop what you’re doing and change it immediately – and make it something complex using a mix of numbers, letters and characters.

Top 50 most commonly used passwords of 2021

To read the full list of 200 most common passwords for this year, visit the Nordpass website here.

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. 12345
  5. password
  6. 12345678
  7. 111111
  8. 123123
  9. 1234567890
  10. 1234567
  11. qwerty123
  12. 000000
  13. 1q2w3e
  14. aa12345678
  15. abc123
  16. password1
  17. 1234
  18. qwertyuiop
  19. 123321
  20. password123
  21. 1q2w3e4r5t
  22. loveyou
  23. 654321
  24. 666666
  25. 987654321
  26. 123
  27. 123456a
  28. qwe123
  29. 1q2w3e4r
  30. 7777777
  31. 1qaz2wsx
  32. 123qwe
  33. zxcvbnm
  34. 121212
  35. asdasd
  36. a123456
  37. 555555
  38. dragon
  39. 112233
  40. 123123123
  41. monkey
  42. 11111111
  43. qazwsx
  44. 159753
  45. asdfghjkl
  46. 222222
  47. 1234qwer
  48. qwerty1
  49. 123654
  50. 123abc

How to turn on multi-factor authentication

To turn on multi-factor authentication simply visit your device settings under security and login and select how you would like to receive your second form of authentication – this can be through a text message or security key.

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Most popular scams

The most common type of scam detected by Custard Technical Services was the cryptoscam, accounting for 72 per cent of the crimes recorded.

A cryptoscam involves a scammer pressing the individuals into transferring money via cryptocurrency, often threatening to leak material that doesn’t actually exist.

Most cryptocurrency payments are irreversible and generally not protected by The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – as a result, it is very unlikely that victims of these scams will recover any money lost.

Commenting on the research, Robert Hinds, Security Specialist at Custard Technical Services, said: “Installing an MFA system hugely diminishes the vulnerability of a business by creating a multi-layered security system that requires users to follow several verification steps before gaining access to any resources. This defends from automated software that tries hundreds of thousands of passwords to breach your systems.

“For employees targeted by scammers asking for payments, ignore these emails. The worst thing you can do is respond to the email, as the scammer will know your email is active, so you’ll receive further messages. If possible, don’t open the email as many have tracking attached that detects when you’ve seen it.”

He added: “There’s been a rise in scammers impersonating a colleague or messaging from an email that looks familiar, so call that person or IT whenever you receive a message like this – do not reply to the original email or action whatever they request.”

Latest Scams To Look Out For

As soon as cybercriminals ascertain credentials, they can attack data continuously without detection, making it almost impossible to decipher what information has been compromised.

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Custard’s findings show that anyone can fall victim to cybercrime.

You can read the full report online at Custard Technical Services here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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