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BizReport : Internet : December 08, 2014

Lax Internet users need to be reminded to change, safeguard passwords

Consumers fear being hacked and their personal information or even their identity stolen yet, according to new research, many are lax when it comes to passwords and online security.

by Helen Leggatt

I recently reported on ID Watchdog's survey of American consumers that found many are lax when it comes to safeguarding and regularly updating their online passwords despite the news being peppered with individuals and big organizations being hacked.

Across the Atlantic in the U.K., things are not much better. According to research among 1,000 Brits by business technology firm Redcentric, nearly two-thirds (63%) use the same password for multiple different accounts such as banking and social media. Worse still, 17% say they store passwords on their PC or mobile device.

Almost half (43%) believe that their existing passwords won't be guessed by a hacker despite a third of consumers' passwords containing information such as their birth dates, address information or even their name.

According to Redcentric, "online security is paramount in this day and age, especially as people are able to carry out more day-to-day tasks online such as shopping, banking and running businesses. There are obvious concerns when people are using the same passwords over different accounts, especially if those accounts hold personal or financial information".

Redcentric found that two in 10 consumers (21%) only change their password when prompted. That means that if more websites and businesses whose customers use passwords were to provide regular reminders to change passwords, the digital world might be a safer place.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: identity fraud, online security, personal data

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  • Hitoshi Anatomi

    Using a strong password does help a lot even against the attack of cracking the leaked/stolen hashed passwords back to the original passwords. The problem is that few of us can firmly remember many such strong passwords.  It is like we cannot run as fast and far as horses however strongly urged we may be. We are not built like horses.

    At the root of the password headache is the cognitive phenomena called “interference of memory”, by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average. What worries us is not the password, but the textual password. The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember. We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory. More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.



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