Pets are wonderful companions. They are a source of comfort and support. The relationship we share with our pets is one of the strongest bonds we can ever experience in our lifetime. But is this love putting our online security at risk? A study conducted by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) reveals that millions of people are still using their pet’s names as passwords for their online accounts. Why is it a bad idea? And what can we do to make our online accounts more secure?

Statistics from NCSC say that 15% of British people choose their pet’s names as passwords, 14% use a family member’s name, 13% use a significant date, and 6% use their favorite sports team as passwords. These accounts make easy targets for hackers because they simply guess common pet names, or lurk into social media profiles to get information. Communications Director at NCSC, Nicola Hudson comments “We may be a nation of animal lovers, but using your pet’s name as a password could make you an easy target for callous cyber-criminals. Millions of accounts could fall victims to data breach by criminals using trial-and-error techniques.” This logic also applies to other personal information you have like birthdays and family names.

The NCSC’s latest Cyber Aware campaign provides updated advice to web users worldwide, intending to encourage people to reconsider password protection and online safety. The NCSC also recommends using harder-to-crack passwords such as three random, unconnected words. Regularly updating your device is also recommended as it provides added protection. Refrain from using easily guessed passwords such as anniversaries, birthdays, or even pet names. Following these steps will help make our accounts more secured.