Pets make excellent companions. One of the most powerful bonds we can form in our lives is the one we have with our pets. But is this love putting our online security at risk? According to a report conducted by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), millions of people are still using their pet’s names as passwords for their online accounts. Why is this a bad idea? And what are the things we could do to make our accounts more secure?

According to NCSC statistics, 15% of British citizens use their pet’s name as passwords, followed by 14% who use a family member’s name, 13% who use a significant date, and 6% who use their favorite sports team. These accounts make easy targets for hackers because they can guess common pet names, or lurk into social media profiles for information. Communications Director at NCSC, Nicola Hudson commented that using your pet’s name as a password could make you an easy target for cyber-criminals. This reasoning also applies to other personal information you have like birthdays and family names.

The NCSC’s Cyber Aware campaign offers updated advice to web users all over the world to encourage people to rethink password security and online safety. The NCSC also suggests using passwords that are harder to crack, such as three random, unconnected words. Updating devices regularly is also recommended for added security. Avoid using terms that can simply be guessed, such as anniversaries, birthdays, or pet names. By following these measures, it can help us in making our online accounts safer.