A new survey shows that firms are using weak computer passwords, which could pose a threat to mailing lists and business data security.

A report by Data Security firm Imperva found that many firms are using easy to guess passwords for their IT systems, which make them susceptible to “brute force” cyber attacks.

The study found that 50 per cent of firms surveyed used names, dictionary words and slang terms as passwords. Many even used trivial passwords such as adjacent keyboard keys and consecutive digits.

Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer, said: “Everyone needs to understand what the combination of poor passwords means in today’s world of automated cyber attacks.

“It’s time for everyone to take password security seriously; it’s an important first step in data security.”

Simon Heron, internet security analyst at Network Box, recently said that the Information Commissioner’s Office needs to use its extra powers to remind firms to prioritise data security.

Posted by Matthew Collins, Technical Director – IT Data Cleaning, Hygiene, Analytics, Databases