Under siege: Marketers’ favourite password is ‘123456’

hackThe media and marketing industry is one of the most breached sectors in the world, and even the most senior executives are guilty of using basic passwords, with the most popular sign in being “123456”.

That is the damning conclusion of a new study by NordPass, which reveals CEOs, C-level executives, management, and business owners are all too often using easily hackable passwords that mainly include sequence combinations of numbers or letters.

These include, but are not limited to, “1q2w3e,” “12345,” “11111,” and “qwerty”. The winner in all categories remains “123456” (used over 1.1 million times), with the password “password” (used over 700 thousand times) coming in second.

The research suggests that top-level executives also extensively use names or mythical creatures as an inspiration when creating passwords. Among the most popular are “dragon” and “monkey”. The most widely chosen names used in passwords are Tiffany, Charlie, Michael, and Jordan, which may or may not hint at the legendary basketball player.

This research was conducted in partnership with independent researchers who analysed over 290 million data breaches worldwide. They grouped passwords according to job title and industry — among many fields affected, media, marketing, technology, finance, construction, healthcare, and hospitality were shown to experience the most security incidents.

Last year, NordPass presented a similar study, delving into the passwords that Fortune 500 companies’ employees use to access their accounts. The 10 most common passwords among media employees are password, aaron431, myspace1, jesus1, company name, unwantedx1, 123456, default, password1 and 4eVer22.

NordPass CEO Jonas Karklys said: “It is unbelievable how similar we all think, and this research simply confirms that — what we might consider being very original, in fact, can place us in the list of most common.

“Everyone from gamer teenagers to company owners are targets of cybercrimes, and the only difference is that business entities, as a rule, pay a higher price for their unawareness.”

A separate IBM report claimed that in 2021, the average global cost of a data breach reached $4.24m (£3.4m), up 10% on 2020. The attacks that happen due to compromised credentials cost even more at $4.37m and account for 20% of all breaches.

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