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News

Mandating Secure Social Networking Passwords Viewed As Essential Means of Improving Security

Imperva : 19 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
With weak passwords continuing to be seen as the main security failure on social networking sites, Imperva is advising service providers to mandate strong password protocols in return for free services
Responding to reports that Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter seniors are blaming weak passwords for the ongoing security problems of social networking sites, Imperva says that social networking sites need to take more responsibility for steering users in the direction of stronger passwords.

The comments by the panel of experts at the South by South Interactive event fail to take in account that people can - and frequently do - choose bad passwords, says Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer with the data security specialist.

'Coupled with the fact that users of these sites often don't use any IT security software and can be quite gullible at times, it's down to the operators of these sites to mandate the use of strong passwords,' he said.

'Education as to the reasons why strong passwords are required is also useful, but far from essential. Internet history has shown that, if you mandate users to do something in return for a free service, they will do what you want - which is good news on the password front,' he added.

According to Shulman, social networking site operators should not tell uses what software they should have on their computers - the companies should start to take responsibility and ownership of the user security issue, and act according,

Web site operators, he explained, should seriously acknowledge their responsibility to these security issues rather than simply throw them back at their users.

The Internet, he went on to say, is still a relatively new and exciting experience for many users and, whilst a lot of companies are making a profit from this brave new world, there is still a need for those same businesses to invest in educating their members about the need for secure passwords.

'Requiring users to set up a secure password won't detract from the numbers of users flocking to these free-to-use services, but it will dramatically boost their security,' he said.

'And making the services more secure will gain the longer term trust of the membership, which will be repaid as those users tell others about their experiences,' he added.

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