NCSC Urges Brits To Avoid Using Pet Names As Passwords

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The U.K. National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) advises citizens to use strong passwords made of three random words rather than easily guessable words.

As we strive to make the Internet more secure, we cannot overlook the importance of strong passwords. Your devices and online accounts are more secure when you use hard-to-guess passwords or passphrases. Despite several security awareness programs, users still do not form strong passwords, putting their online security at risk.

Earlier this month, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) called on its citizens to use stronger passwords after a survey revealed that 15% of Britishers use their pet’s name as their password for most of their online accounts. Most Brits use easy-to-guess passwords such as their pet’s name (14%), a significant date (13%), or a favorite sports team (6%).

Furthermore, 6% of the users admitted using “password” as part or all of their password. By using simple trial-and-error password guessing techniques, threat actors can easily gain access to millions of accounts. NCSC recommends users use passwords that contain at least three different words. 

The Bright Side

Nearly 27% of the participants reported adding four more password-protected accounts as compared to last year, with 6% adding more than ten new accounts.

Nicola Hudson, NCSC Director for Policy and Communications, said, “We may be a nation of animal lovers, but using your pet’s name as a password could make you an easy mark for cybercriminals.”. Visit cyberaware.gov.uk and follow our advice on setting secure passwords, which recommends using three random words for your passwords.”. You can also generate tailored advice to improve your security against online threats using our Cyber Action Plan tool.”.

Boosting Password Security

NCSC’s Cyber Aware campaign encourages users and organizations to follow certain password practices to improve online security. Some of these include:

    • Keep your email password separate and strong. Hackers who gain access to your email account might reset your other account passwords and gain access to information about yourself or your business. Make sure your email password is unique and strong.
    • If you use different passwords for your important accounts, it can be challenging to remember them all. Create strong passwords using three random words.
  • Do not use words that can be guessed (such as your pet’s name). You may include numbers and symbols if necessary. For example, “RedPantsTree4!”
  • You can manage your passwords and protect yourself from certain cybercrimes, such as those initiated through fake websites, by saving them in your web browser.

Improving U.K.’s Cyber Resilience

In her first virtual speech as the NCSC’s CEO, Lindy Cameron warned of cyberthreats against organizations and users in the U.K. she explained how they aim to improve the country’s cyber resilience.

Our current cybersecurity landscape in the United Kingdom illustrates great progress and relative strength – but it is not a position we should be complacent about. Cybersecurity is still not taken as seriously as it should be, and is simply not part of British governance. Digital literacy is as non-negotiable as financial or legal literacy in boardrooms – the pace of change is no excuse. “Our CEOs should be as close to their CISOs as they are to their Finance Director and General Counsel,” Cameron said. As we’re all too aware, cyber skills are not yet fundamental to our education – despite the fact that these are basic life skills like wiring a plug or changing a tire as well as skills for the future digital economy.”

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