Internet users must use better passwords

A study of Britons' passwords has revealed the most common choices among web users were "123456" and "password".

Vulnerable passwords played a part in the celebrity nude photo hack, and research suggests many internet users continue to risk their online safety when it comes to log-in details.

A British government survey in October 2014 as part of the Cyber Streetwise campaign found that three quarters of Britons use passwords that are not secure.

These include a pet's name, place of birth or something related to a favourite sports team.

The list of the most common passwords of 2014 also highlighted that based on millions of pieces of stolen data logged over the previous year, the two most common choices among web users were found to be "123456" and "password".

Mark James, an IT security specialist for anti-virus firm ESET, says internet users need to do more to protect their data, rather than solely relying on the technology companies they store information with.

"We need to always examine and evaluate what data is being uploaded by default and ask ourselves do we really need to store this data in the cloud?" he said.

"If we do then we have to take responsibility and ensure we use complex unique passwords.

"Sadly most people choose ease of use over security."

Mr James added that the recent publicity around cyber security is a good thing, as it has prompted a greater number of advice campaigns and conversations to take place, something he says can only strength the chances of future leaks being avoided.