WHEN it comes to creating the myriad of passwords modern life demands, we are oft reminded not to use anything basic and easy to guess. Now new research has found that along with mere mortals, a surprising number of the world's CEOs and business owners are doing just that.


What are they choosing?

According to new research, the top 10 passwords used by CEOs around the world has '123456' at number one, with more than 29,000 CEOs opting for it.


It doesn’t get more simple than that?

Well, other top 10 choices are ‘password’ - used by more than 22,500 CEOs; '12345', '123456789', 'qwerty' and '1234'. The rest of the top 10 include other easy-to-hack offerings 'qwerty123' and ‘111111’.


Risky business?

‘123456’ was found to be involved in more than 1.1 million cybersecurity breaches worldwide, while ‘password’ was found in more than 700,000 breaches.


How was the research compiled?

A team from password manager NordPass studied more than 290 million data breaches worldwide, breaking down the findings into job title and industry.


What’s in a name?

The analysis also found that high-ranking business executives often do the other big password no-no - using names as their secret words. NordPass found the most popular names used worldwide were Tiffany (used in 100,534 data breaches), Charlie (33,699), Michael (10,647), and Jordan (10,472). And CEOs and business owners also opted for mythical creatures and animals as passwords, with 'dragon' and 'monkey' both used nearly 12,000 times each.


It comes after…?

Previous research for the tech firm found similar behaviour from everyday interest users running their own lives, rather than big businesses, with the top 10 most common globally used passwords in 2021 '123456' - used by 103,170,552 people - and '123456789' used by more than 46,000,000.


What else inspires our choices?

The 2021 analysis found cultural references influence password choices as well. Liverpool was the third most popular choice in the UK, with Arsenal and Chelsea at 10 and 11. Women were also found to use more upbeat phrases such as ‘sunshine’ or ‘iloveyou’ while men used more sports terms and in some countries, more swear words.


Cyber crime is rising?

The UK saw a 31 per cent jump in cyber crime amid the pandemic and Jonas Karklys, CEO of NordPass, said we are all at risk, advising online users to take simple step to reduce our chances of being hacked.


Such as?

Using a password manager to do the job for us or simply using a selection of random words and numbers as passwords. Karklys said of the latest CEO research: “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.”