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Password crackdown

October 23rd, 2017

We all need to be more conscious of cyber security if we don’t want our identities stolen or bank accounts drained, but how long would it take a hacker to crack your passwords?

Tech experts from online electrical retailer revealed the ten most commonly used passwords in the UK from the last year, including qwerty and 123123, would take an expert less than one second to crack.

While some people think they’re safe by choosing a memorable word, such as a partner’s name, this doesn’t make you any safer. Hackers go after personal information such as a date of birth, pet’s name or the street someone grew up on, which can easily be deduced from social media profiles.

A date of birth separated by full stops, for instance, would take a hacker just 13 seconds to crack.

However, there is a way to create a foolproof cipher that would take cyber criminal up to four trillion years to unpick.

Experts from the Home Office’s Cyber Aware campaign advise choosing a password that’s made up of three random, unrelated words such as teabrownpicture.

The easiest passwords to crack 

123456                   1234567890

123456789            1234567

qwerty                    password

12345678              123123

111111                       987654321

Words to avoid in your password

Your name, partner’s or pet’s name

Your pet’s name

The name of the street you grew up on

Your favourite place to go on holiday

Favourite sports team


Choose a password that’s made up of three random, unrelated words

A good example is ‘teabrownpicture’ and it would take 35,000 years to crack

Adding a number to the end of the three random words ups the ante to 227 million years

Always have different passwords for each account

Such a combination would take 35,000 years to crack, while adding a number ups the ante to 227 million years.

Adding both a number and symbol means your password is safe for eternity – or at least four trillion years.

Experts also advise that, while it may be tedious, it’s important to have different passwords for your important accounts, such as email and online banking.

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