A report by life assistance company CPP shows that nearly half of Britons use the same log-in for online shopping, banking and social networking.
In fact, nearly two million people in the country use the same password for every account.
According to reformed hacker Robert Schifreen, using an identical password for multiple services gives criminals who gain access to one account – email or a social network profile for example – a good chance of penetrating secure banking or credit card log-ins.
“It didn’t really bother me whose system I broke into,” Mr Schifreen said of his own hacking days.
“It was quantity rather than quality. Anybody’s password I wanted to guess I could do so.
“I would sit in a Chinese restaurant with hacker friends sharing information, sharing passwords, and we’d all try and break into each others’ systems just for a bit of fun really.”
Online fraud is a growing problem in Britain. One person in 10 has had their web accounts hacked into, and most of those attacks occurred in the last year.
“If you want to go into large scale crime, the chance of getting caught if you go online is much less than if you hold up a bank with a shotgun, and the criminals know it,” said Mr Schifreen.
The new report also found that 40% of adults admit that someone else knows their passwords, while half a million people confessed that their password was known to a former partner.
Another problem is password selection – obvious choices make things much easier for hackers.
In Britain, nearly a fifth of people use their pet’s name, while 12% pick a memorable date such as a birthday and 10% choose their child’s name to log in.
Do not put personal information online
Choose a good password
For more information on avoiding online fraud go to Get Safe Online.
Try to leave as little personal information about yourself online as possible.
Use as many numbers and symbols in your password as possible.
To boost personal internet security, Robert Schifreen recommends using long and complicated passwords that combine numbers and letters. But the most important thing is variation.
“For anything important like shopping or banking, use a different password every time,” advised the former hacker.
“That way if somebody does guess it, or find it via a phishing attack, if they guess that one password they’ve only got one key to your life rather than the entire key ring.”
Content courtesy of Sky News