Cyber Security Month: Irish People Urged to Reconsider Their Password Choices

17 Oct, 2023

Min read

password

As Cyber Security Month gets underway, data from Cyber Skills has revealed that popular sports clubs, renowned radio personalities, and beloved TV programmes are among the most common passwords amongst internet users, making them prime targets for cybercriminals.

 

Utilising the HaveIBeenPwned website, which houses over 613 million passwords from hacked accounts, a study was conducted to assess the vulnerability of certain passwords. By inputting names of prominent Irish celebrities, sports teams, and cultural content, the results were interesting. These seemingly "unique" choices were, in actuality, widespread and easily guessable by hackers.

 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s Digital Identity Guidelines emphasises the importance of secure password practices, advising organisations to block subscribers from using passwords that have previously appeared in a data breach. This recommendation underscores the significance of selecting passwords that have not been compromised in past cyber incidents.

 

  1. Hazel Murray from Cyber Skills commented "What many consider a 'strong' password, referencing cultural touchpoints, is in fact easily deciphered by cybercriminals. There's a common misconception that if a password contains personal information or interests that it will be strong. Good passwords are multiple words strung together and avoid easily recognisable phrases.” She added “Glenroe finished over 20 years ago on TV, yet it’s been used nearly 90 times in the hacked password database."

Richard Browne from the National Cyber Security Centre advises “Use strong long diverse passwords, the longer the password the more difficult it is to break. If you go to ten characters or more, it gets very very difficult to break it.”

Some of the most common passwords in the hacked passwords database are:

123456 - 36 million times

Qwerty - 10 million times

Password 9 million times

 

In light of these findings, Irish people are urged to re-evaluate and strengthen their password choices. Cyber Security Month serves as a timely reminder of the importance of safeguarding our digital presence. By taking proactive measures and educating ourselves on best practices, we can collectively thwart cyber threats and ensure a safer online environment for all.

Common hacked passwords with an Irish slant:

Radio

2johnnies 16 times
ryantubridy 0
patkenny 36 times

newstalk 94 times
shanecoleman 5 times
ciarakelly 25 times
jesskelly 49 times
tomdunne 23 times
thestunning 7 times

Irish Popculture

Maniac2000 115 times
podgeandrodge 70 times
zigandzag 185 times
thecranberries 195 times
aertel 12 times
fatherted 1207 times
mrsdoyle 118
goongoongoon 11 times
fatherjack 138
mrsbrownesboys 0 times
meteireann 20 times
glenroe 87 times
joeduffy 47 times
achtungbaby 1001 times
johnnylogan 15 times
lindamartin 26 times
riverdance 2047 times
lordofthedance 151 times
winningstreak 36 times
echoisland 5 times
fortycoats 9 times

Politics
oireachtas 330 times
finegael 45 times
fiannafail 75 times
sinnfein 1530 times

Sports
shamrockrovers 64 times
corkcityfc 99 times
Munsterrugby198 times
leinsterrugby 14 times
ronanogara 0 times
johnnysexton 0 times
pauloconnell 16 times
liverpoolfc 22,000
manunited 33,000
manchesterunited 11,086
roykeane 2962
soniaosullivan 3 times
mayoforsam 33 times
hill16 837 times

Irish
samhain 4175 times
newgrange 280 times
bealtaine 46 times
nollaig 441 times
Saoirse 5133 times
baconandcabbage 3
jesusmaryandjoseph 9
gobshite 1542
langer 3961

Cork
corkcity 871
shandonbells 2 times
corkcityfc 99 times
carrigaline 171 times
tanora 86
barrystea 24

About Cyber Security Month:

Cyber Security Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. Through a series of events, workshops, and online resources, the campaign aims to empower individuals and businesses to take control of their digital lives and protect themselves against cyber threats.

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