Bad Password Practices Can Impact Security

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2010-06-16 Print this article Print

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. |

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel