[ISN] Password to easy fraud lies in pets' names and birthdays

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon Aug 16 04:20:06 EDT 2004


Aug 16 2004
The Western Mail
MOST internet and online banking customers leave themselves open to
fraudsters by using predictable passwords, new research claims.

More than three-quarters of people surveyed used words that could be
easily guessed.

Only one in five had passwords consisting of a combination of random
letters and numbers, according to Visa Europe.

The rest relied on nicknames, birthdays and anniversaries, family or
pet names and memorable dates.

But the group warned that people could be putting their security at
risk, as personal information was often easy for hackers to obtain or

It added that first names or the names of places or famous people were
also easy for hackers to get, and programmes existed that enabled
hackers to try all the words in a dictionary when trying to find out
someone's password.

The research found that 21% of people used their own or their
partner's nickname for their password, while 15% used their birthday
or anniversary and 15% used the name of their pet.

Around 14% had a family members' name as their password, 7% relied on
a memorable date, and 2% even unimaginatively used the word password.

A third of people also admitted they used the same password for
everything, while 24% said they used the same one most of the time.

Four out of 10 people said they had between two and four passwords,
with just 12% of people managing to remember between five and seven
different ones.

Just under a third of people admitted they had shared their password
with their partner, while 16% had told a member of their family, and
just half of those questioned were confident no-one else knew their
log-in details.

Hugo Bottelier, vice president of Visa Europe, said,"Of course, it is
important that our passwords are personal and meaningful to us, but
also that they are difficult to decipher and not easily guessed."

Survey Shop questioned 1,005 internet users by telephone during March.

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