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Password fails revealed

01 Dec 2010

How often have we pointed this out? You lock your house, you lock your car, but when it comes to securing your computer, you act like an idiot.

A survey of more than 2500 people from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, conducted by US internet security service company Webroot, found that too many people still aren’t following commonsense password practices.

Among the findings:

  • 4 in 10 respondents shared passwords with at least one person in the past year.
  • Nearly as many people use the same password to log into multiple websites, which could expose their information on each of the sites if one of them becomes compromised.
  • Almost half of all users never use special characters (eg: ! ? & #) in their passwords; a simple technique that makes it more difficult for criminals to guess passwords.
  • 2 in 10 have used a significant date, such as a birth date, or a pet’s name as a password – information that’s often publicly visible on social networks.

"We’re seeing between 40,000 to 100,000 new samples of malware emerge daily, and in most of those cases the motivation behind the malware is financial,” said Jeff Horne, Director of Threat Research at Webroot. "Using good password and security practices will help thwart similar attacks: make a common practice to never store your password in a browser or FTP site, and have reputable, up-to-date anti-malware protection in place.”

The survey also found that people aged 18-29 are more careless about passwords; more than half those surveyed are always, often or occasionally forgetting their passwords; and just 16% create passwords more than 10 characters long.

So wise up, people. It’s your security (and sometimes your money) that’s at stake. Some helpful advice on  creating strong passwords is at tinyurl.com/l9e4cv