Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords

| December 17, 2012
Financial data at risk from unsafe passwords

According to a survey by the Payments Council the problem of having to remember a different password for several accounts means that many internet users are compromising the security of their financial data.

Internet users have 22 password-protected accounts on average and many use the same log-in details for more than one account, even though this is a greater security risk that using unique passwords for each account.

The problem is that people struggle to remember passwords, and therefore choose passwords that are easier to remember, even though they don’t give adequate protection, especially when it comes to online banking.

Almost a third of those surveyed said they never changed passwords and many shared their passwords with other people.

Birthdays, addresses and partners’ names are all popular password choices, even though these are easy to guess.

The Payments Council, which is responsible for ensuring that payment services work in the UK, carried out the survey as part of its education campaign, PayYourWay.org.uk.

It has published its top tips for password security on its website.

One of its more creative tips is to use the first letters of a song lyric such as the The Grand Old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men’, which would give the password of ‘TGODoYhh10000m!’

The combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols makes this password difficult to crack and using the initial letters of a sentence know only to yourself would make the password even more secure.

However this doesn’t solve the problem of having dozens of passwords to remember, and people with many passwords might benefit from using password manager software.

Password managers create random, strong passwords for each site, but the user only needs to remember one master password to access them all.

Some password managers also automate the process of entering passwords and other data into websites.

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