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Brits Urged To Change Their Passwords Following Worrying Data Breach

Joe Harker

| Last updated 

Brits Urged To Change Their Passwords Following Worrying Data Breach

Brits have been urged to change their passwords after warnings that a data breach could nab their personal online information.

Since 2004 there have been 247.1 million breached accounts in the UK – about enough for every Brit to have been hacked four times over, Daily Express reports.

Passwords, email addresses and usernames are the most common things the hackers steal in a data breach and for many sites that's enough for someone else to log in with your account.

Worldwide there has been around 14.9 billion breached accounts since 2004, with each unique email address broken into three times on average.

The UK is the seventh most vulnerable country to data breaches, while the US, Russia and China take the top spots.

Credit: Hive Systems
Credit: Hive Systems

Keeping multiple passwords that are hard to crack is helpful, as experts have revealed just how easy it is to break through some protections.

A six digit password can be broken through pretty much instantly, and that's really any variation of characters no matter what order you put them in.

Eight characters in a password takes just 39 minutes to break through, but the more characters and complexity you keep adding the longer it takes for the hackers to crack it.

A password with a nice mix of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters can take a very long time to crack, with a 10 digit combination needing around five months to get through

Stick another character on that password and the hacking time for the password jumps up from five months to 34 years.

The hackers are coming for your passwords, keep them complicated. Credit: Alamy
The hackers are coming for your passwords, keep them complicated. Credit: Alamy

The most common passwords are sadly among the most easily guessable, as basic number combinations like '123456' or the classic 'password' are still popular in this day and age despite warnings about hackers.

They're pretty much all basic sequences of numbers or some variation on the 'qwerty' part of the keyboard.

You should definitely avoid using passwords that are easily guessable by anyone who has no personal knowledge of you or are just altogether basic.

A long mixture of numbers, letters and symbols that only you know is the key to staying safe from the hackers online.

A 17-character password with a mix of all of these things is estimated to take seven trillion years to get through.

By that time your hacker is either going to be long dead or will have discovered the secret to immortality and getting into your email account will probably be low on their list of priorities.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Technology, Hacks

Joe Harker
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