Feeds

Passwords? We don't need no stinking passwords

Some PINs never change

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

RSA 2005 Concerns over online security are continuing to slow consumer e-commerce growth. A quarter of the respondents in a recent survey have reduced their online purchases in the past year and 21 per cent refuse to conduct business with their financial institutions online because of security fears. More than half (53 per cent) of the 1,000 consumers quizzed believe that basic passwords fail to provide sufficient protection for sensitive personal information.

According to the RSA Security-sponsored telephone survey, poor management of PINs and passwords for access to online services, desktop computer systems, ATMs and other electronic accounts is a major vulnerability. As a major supplier of two-factor authentication products and services that offer an alternative to traditional static passwords, the issues raised by RSA Security's survey are more than a little self-serving. That doesn't mean its analysis is necessarily wrong, though. More and more security experts are lining up against the use of static passwords for e-banking; in part because the technique makes consumers easy prey for phishers. Even so, obituaries for the humble password may be premature.

Adi Shamir, professor at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science and noted cryptographer, said: "Passwords are not completely dead. For low level security apps they are still sufficiently good. It depends on the application".

One PIN to rule them all

More than two in three respondents (65 per cent) quizzed in RSA Security's survey use fewer than five passwords for all electronic information access and 15 percent use a single password for everything. These figures are unchanged from a similar survey last year.

John Worrall, VP of worldwide marketing at RSA Security, said: "The majority of consumers are aware of the problems associated with passwords, but until they are presented with a reliable, easy-to-use alternative, they're going to continue to exhibit poor password management practices." ®

Related stories

RSA cosies up to AOL as VeriSign enters token market
Stunned pundit agrees with Gates over passwords
Women are crap with PIN numbers - shock survey
Brits are crap at password security
Passwords are passport to theft

RSA 2005

All the Reg stories from this year's conference

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.