Football fans urged to check passwords ahead of Premier League restart

People have been urged to update and strengthen their passwords Credit: PA

Football fans have been urged to strengthen their cyber security settings as millions prepare to log-in to subscription services to watch the return of the Premier League.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued guidance to fans to reset their passwords as well as strengthening them and updating any streaming apps to ensure they are safe from hackers.

The centre, which is part of GCHQ, has previously revealed how easy-to-guess passwords, including football team names, were used by hackers to access nearly 700,000 accounts.

The guidance comes ahead of the return of Premier League football on Wednesday, but with matches being played behind closed doors, many supporters will turn to online streaming services in order to watch games.

Popular passwords

Source: National Cyber Security Centre

  • Liverpool

  • Chelsea

  • Arsenal

  • Manchester United

  • Everton

“The return of the Premier League is a moment that the nation has been looking forward to, and we want football fans to enjoy it in the safest way possible,” NCSC chief executive Ciaran Martin said.

“Without the option of watching football matches at the pub or in person, it’s fantastic that technology can bridge the gap and allow thousands of fans to watch their team from their own living room.

“We would strongly recommend fans check out the Government’s Cyber Aware campaign to ensure they have as safe a streaming experience as possible.”

The Cyber Aware campaign urges internet users to create separate passwords for their key accounts, as well as build a strong password by using three random words.

NCSC research released last year indicated that millions of accounts had been breached by hackers because they had guessed simple passwords.

It showed that hundreds of thousands of compromised accounts had been protected using football team names – the most popular being Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton.