Please, whatever you do, don't use any of these awful passwords

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Choosing a password is really difficult, especially in the age when data breaches have become so common that almost every password out there – especially those comprised of actual words – are available to hackers. 

Of course, we always recommend getting a password manager, like 1Password or LastPass (or even just using Apple's iCloud Keychain), but for most people, a single password with some variations is going to be the norm. 

A new study conducted by card payments company Dojo analyzed 100,000 breached passwords from the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to find commonalities. It found that people are mostly using variations of the same password, perhaps with a different set of numbers or characters, and the study aims to help people avoid at least the worst passwords they could pick. 

The best of times, the worst of times

As part of the study, Dojo found some pretty interesting trends. To begin, pet names and terms of endearment (such as "love", "baby", or "angel") were the most popular type of passwords. These are followed, in order, by names, animals, emotions, and food. 

Of these, Dojo broke down the most popular examples. For names, it was Sam, Anna, and Alex, while for animals it was dog and cat. 

Brand names, such as Apple, LinkedIn, and Google, also featured highly, ranking 12th on the list. Car brands were especially popular, with Ford, Honda, and Audi ranking highly. 

According to the NCSC, the most popular passwords overall were: 123456 (23.2 million users), 123456789 (7.7 million users), Qwerty (3.8 million users), Password (3.6 million users), and 1111111 (3.1 million users). 

So, please at least avoid those ones – and tell your friends and family to do the same (or do it for them). 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.