Common Passwords are Making Consumers Vulnerable to Fraud

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Equifax urges consumers to choose stronger passwords or risk having their identity stolen

man typing password
Research, conducted by SplashData, identifies the six-digit phrase ‘123456’ as the most hacked password of 2013

In light of new research* revealing the most frequently hacked computer passwords of the past year, Equifax, the leading ID fraud and credit information expert, is urging consumers to add variety to their choice of passwords or risk falling victim to fraudsters. The report also highlights the importance of consumers using a range of passwords for different websites.

The research, conducted by SplashData, identifies the six-digit phrase ‘123456’ as the most hacked password of 2013, beating the previous year’s winner ‘password’ into second place. Other popular choices included ‘abc123’, ‘iloveyou’ and ‘111111’, whilst new to the list was easily guessed ‘000000’.

“Whilst it’s understandable that consumers find it difficult to remember a multitude of passwords, it’s absolutely crucial that they don’t revert to just one for all the services they access on the web” explained Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax.

“Despite a growing number of websites now enforcing stronger password policies, we are still seeing so many people fall victim to ID fraud with easily cracked, numerical passwords, or basic things such as birthdays and mother’s maiden names.

“Fraudsters may only need as little as three items of personal information to be able to steal an individual’s identity and with so much information about people circulating on the internet – especially through social media sites – it wouldn’t take much for a fraudster to work out a birthday or family name that could be the key to a treasure trove of information.”

Equifax’s WebDetect service offers an added layer of security against fraudsters who may be trawling the net for personal information. Using the latest cutting edge technology to search places where criminals trade including networks, chat rooms and websites worldwide, Equifax WebDetect enables the detection of stolen identity credentials, finding consumer data regardless of nationality or location.

“We believe vigilance has to be the priority for today’s consumers as personal information becomes the currency of the internet”, continued Neil Munroe. “The invisibility of the worldwide web makes it the ideal place for fraudsters to find and trade people’s information so it’s vital that consumers stay alert to the risk and think about using secure passwords.”

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto the website. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.

WebDetect is free for customers purchasing their Equifax Credit Report or Credit Score.

*Source: SplashData research released 22/01/2014

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

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Clare Watson | Nakhalar Sterling | Wendy Harrison | Cecile Stearn | Ed McCambridge
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