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News

Password Disclosure Levels Remain High For Web Users

BitDefender UK : 10 November, 2010  (Technical Article)
Study from BitDefender shows that as many as 12% of web users disclose their passwords inappropriately
BitDefender has warned users about the need to protect sensitive information such as user names and passwords and to be wary of sharing personal data with strangers. The warning comes as a new BitDefender survey today revealed that 12% of respondents disclosed their password to a total stranger in order to find out whether it was strong enough.

The latest survey into web users' password habits, detailed on MalwareCity.com, also found that over 670 of the 1000 randomly chosen respondents revealed that they have more than three online accounts that require a password in order to be accessed. Of these, 73% stated that they use the same password in order to access their different accounts. Furthermore, while a quarter of interviewees use the minimum six-character combination, only 1% of participants use an alphanumeric sequence longer than fifteen characters.

"Based on these findings, it is possible to assume that someone who finds out or guesses a single password can access all of the respective person's accounts," said Sabina Datcu, BitDefender E-Threats Analyst and Communication Specialist and author of the experiment. "In other words, too many users make it very easy for fraudsters to gain access to their email, social media, bank and other accounts by employing the same password. It is like having a bunch of spare keys to your house and handing them out to anyone who asks."

Catalin Cosoi, Head of the BitDefender Online Threats Lab, commented, "A strong, secure password has at least 14 characters, which includes numbers, symbols and punctuation marks as well as letters. Users should ensure their password is abstract and does not contain any words plus makes use of the entire set of keyboard signs. Changing passwords regularly is generally a good thing but people that do so too frequently tend to develop a pattern that eventually decreases their strength. It is best to allow around 100 days between creating a new one."

Further details on the study are available on a blog post on malwarecity.com, a BitDefender initiative for the software security community and a free resource for those interested in their online security.
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