It seems like most Internet users have learned nothing in 2017. A firm called SplashData have analysed more than 5 million passwords leaked by hackers in 2017, and found that the most common password people were using was still ‘123456’, closely followed by 'password'!

You know as well as I do why that is a terrible password: when hackers are trying to crack an account, they use tools to enter common words and number sequences, in the hope of striking it lucky.

It's not like people don't have enough warnings. Every time a new hacker attack hits the headlines, security researchers advise people to use strong passwords.

In case you're wondering, these are the 10 most popular passwords of 2017:

Needless to say, all of these passwords are the equivalent of leaving your front door wide open. In fact, any password based on dictionary words or number sequences are an open invitation to hackers and will one day ensure that your account is compromised.

The only way to stay safe is to use a password that combines upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation symbols. That doesn't mean that your password can be a dictionary word with the number 1 tacked on at the end either.

It needs to be a random combination of letters and numbers and a minimum 8 characters long.

If you're not sure whether one of your passwords is safe, you can check it using a free password strength checker:

Simply enter your password and you'll see a score for how secure it is. I'd advise that for best protection you should be aiming to be above 90%, otherwise you're liable to be a victim of a hacker attack in the near future.

So, if you're using an insecure password, make sure your New Year's resolution is to change it!

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