Internet security in the UK is a shambles, with most people using references as obvious as the name of their partner or pet for vital online passwords.
According to a survey by credit card firm Visa Europe, well over three quarters of surfers choose passwords relating to friends, family and memorable dates.
Only one in five of the survey's respondents (22 per cent) said they use a mixture of random letters and characters, with the rest opting for more sentimental log-ins including birthdays, nicknames and the names of favourite pets.
Worryingly, the word 'password' itself still accounts for two per cent of the nation's most common password choice. Another three per cent use their cash machine Pin.
A third of respondents admitted they use the same password for all their log-ins, with a further quarter using the same password nearly all or most of the time.
Only 42 per cent have between two to four passwords and just 12 per cent manage to remember between five and seven, the research found.
The study also found that many internet users share confidential log-in information with others, and a third have told their partners.
"It is not surprising that loved ones and pet names top the most popular list, as often people struggle to remember random characters or designated log-in codes and opt to choose their own," said Hugo Bottelier, vice president of Visa Europe, in a statement.
"Of course it is important that our passwords are personal and meaningful to us, but also that they are difficult to decipher and not easily guessed."
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