The technology industry leads the list of most breached sectors, as shown in the latest study by NordPass.

The research was conducted to assess the password habits of high-level executives worldwide. While there are various reasons behind these data breaches, poor password hygiene is often spelled out as one of the weakest links.

Apparently, this is as relevant to business owners, CEOs, and other C-level executives as to regular internet users. Among both audiences, the most popular password remains “123456”.

NordPass, in partnership with independent researchers specialising in the analysis of cyber incidents, compiled an extensive list of top passwords used by top-level executives.

Among different executive roles that researchers examined — CEOs, C-level executives, management, and business owners — is a visible trend to use easily hackable passwords that mainly include sequence combinations of numbers or letters.

These include but are not limited to “1q2w3e,” “12345,” “11111,” and “qwerty.” The winner in all categories remains “123456” (used over 1,1-million times), with the password “password” (used over 700 000 times) coming in second.

Research suggests that top-level executives also extensively use names or mythical creatures as an inspiration when creating passwords. Among the most popular are “dragon” and “monkey”. The most widely chosen names used in passwords are “Tiffany”, “Charlie”, “Michael” and “Jordan”, which may or may not hint at the legendary basketball player.

Last year, NordPass presented a similar study, delving into the passwords that Fortune 500 companies’ employees use to access their accounts. These are the 10 most common passwords among the technology sector’s employees:

* password

* research

* 123456

* aaron431

* Company name76*

* linkedin

* Company name123*

* career121

* pass1

* password1

Data breach costs going up

One might expect business owners, C-suite, and other high-ranking executives to be more conscious about their security online than average internet users. However, the latest research of NordPass demonstrates that is not the case. “123456” and “123456789” rank in the top five among both audiences, according to this study and the NordPass’ annual Top 200 Most Common Passwords research. This significantly increases the risks of cyberattacks at both the person and company level.

“It is unbelievable how similar we all think, and this research simply confirms that — what we might consider being very original, in fact, can place us in the list of most common,” says Jonas Karklys, the CEO of NordPass. “Everyone from gamer teenagers to company owners are targets of cybercrimes, and the only difference is that business entities, as a rule, pay a higher price for their unawareness.”

The IBM report reveals that, in 2021, the average global cost of a data breach reached $4,24-million, which is 10% more than in 2020. The attacks that happen due to compromised credentials cost even more at 4.37 million USD and account for 20% of all breaches.