The schoolgirl used her school's computers / Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Three quarters of Britons are using easily guessable passwords

Most internet users have terrible passwords, according to a new survey, and are exposing their information to risk of being stolen by hackers.

A government survey in October 2014 as part of the Cyber Streetwise campaign found that three quarters of Britons use passwords that are not secure. These include a pet's name, place of birth or something related to a favourite sports team.

The findings echo a survey released earlier this year that showed the most popular passwords are “Password” and “123456”.

Weak passwords can give hackers easy access to information, by using special code that can automatically try the most popular choices. They helped hackers find the photos leaked as part of the “Fappening”, and once malicious hackers gain access to one account they can usually find their way through the rest.

Security experts advise that users choose different passwords across sites, and ensure that each of them contains different characters and isn’t easily guessable. Some companies offer software to allow people to automatically generate and store passwords, to keep them safe.

"We have to take some responsibility," said Mark James, an IT security specialist for anti-virus firm ESET. "Sadly most people choose ease of use over security.

"We all want easy in this modern age, we associate advances with electronics with making things simpler for us and very rarely look at the security risks involved when using these devices."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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