Breaking bad habits isn't always easy, but failing to break them can break you.
Today's case in point is using poor passwords. According to an online survey commissioned by F-Secure of roughly 4,500 people in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany, about 20 percent of Internet-using respondents use the same passwords for everything from online banking to their e-mail accounts. In addition, about 20 percent write their password on a piece of paper.
Guessable passwords can leave users and organizations open to brute-force attacks that expose valuable data, such as the attack on Yahoo mail described here.
A second survey dealt with an issue that is not exactly a bad habit, but could be bad for business users. A poll of 1,439 people from the United States, Germany, France, Finland, Poland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom found just 50 percent were protecting their mobile phones with a password. Germans did it the most, with 68 percent locking their phones with passwords. The British (27 percent) and Americans (13 percent) did it far less.
"With so many log-ins to deal with these days, it is tempting to use just one or two passwords for everything," Sean Sullivan, security adviser at F-Secure, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it is also a recipe for disaster because there is a whole industry of cyber-criminals constantly devising new ways to steal passwords and exploiting them to the full."
F-Secure advised using a mix of letters and numbers in passwords, and to steer clear of information revealed on your Facebook page, such as your age, birth date or name.