In Brief

The ten easiest passwords to hack

New study reveals the most common choices – is yours on the list?

A new research paper has listed the top-ten least-secure passwords currently in use online, with "123456", "password" and "ninja" among the most frequently used. 

Published by Lancaster University in collaboration with China's Fujian Normal University and Peking University, the study is based on a leaked Yahoo database of personal information. Researchers created an algorithm based on the leak to guess the passwords – and had a 73 per cent success rate.

"Why do [some] use such obvious passwords? A main reason I think is that they're either unaware of or don't understand the risks of online security," Lancaster University's Dr Jeff Yan told the Daily Mail.

"Just like everybody knows what one should do when red lights are on in the road, eventually everybody will know 123456 or the like is not a good password choice."

Another common choice was a combination of the user's name, age or birthday - information often released in a leak of this nature.

The top ten most commonly used passwords were:

123456

password

welcome

ninja

abc123

123456789

12345678

sunshine

princess

qwerty

Using any of these words put people at serious risk of security breaches, added the researchers.

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