Weak passwords behind 30% of ransomware attacks

Written by Hannah McGrath
21/01/2020

The proportion of internet users relying on passwords as weak as ‘12345’ has been exposed by research that showed poor account security caused nearly a third (30 per cent) of ransomware attacks in 2019.

PreciseSecurity looked into cyber incidents in the US last year, finding that phishing scams remained the chosen method of hackers to launch a ransomware attack, with 67 per cent of infections caused by a fraudulent email infected with malware.

Globally, weak password were the third most common reason for ransomware infections in 2019, with recent research from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre showing that 23.2 million victim accounts used 123456 as a password.

A further 36 per cent of Mail Protection Service users reported ransomware attacks caused by a lack of cyber security training and skills among the workforce.

A 2019 Google survey about beliefs and behaviors around online security showed that two in three individuals recycle the same password across multiple accounts. More than half admitted using one favorite password for the majority of the accounts, while only one-third of respondents knew how to define the password manager.