Feeds

Most consumers reuse banking passwords on other sites

Password recycle fail leaves consumers ripe for harvesting

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The majority of online banking customers reuse their online-banking login credentials on other websites, according to a new survey on password insecurity.

Online security firm Trusteer reports that 73 per cent of bank customers use their online account password to access at least one other, less sensitive website. Even worse, around half (47 per cent) use the same online banking username and password for other website logins.

This dismal password security practice means that if cybercrooks trick a user into giving away his login credentials for a social networking site, for example, they stand a very good chance of getting into webmail and online banking accounts for the same person, potentially bringing about crippling financial losses as a result.

Trusteer's findings are pulled from a sample of users of its Rapport browser security service. This is offered through online banks in Europe and North America to their customers as a defence against phishing attacks. Web users outfitted with Trusteer's Rapport browser security plug-in are prevented from sending login details to fraudsters, even if they visit and attempt to enter data into a known phishing site.

The survey (PDF) also found that when a bank permits users to pick their own user ID, 65 per cent will re-use this username with a non-financial website, a figure that drops to 45 per cent even if a bank chooses the user ID for its customers.

Trusteer expressed surprise that consumers were so lax on password security, even when it comes to online banking websites. Here at El Reg, we'd be surprised if anyone produced a survey or research indicating that password security among consumers and enterprise users was anything better than dreadful.

"Using stolen credentials remains the easiest way for criminals to bypass the security measures implemented by banks to protect their online applications, so we wanted to see how often users re-purpose their financial service usernames and passwords," explained Amit Klein, CTO of Trusteer. "Our findings were very surprising, and reveal that consumers are not aware, or are choosing to ignore, the security implications of reusing their banking credentials on multiple websites."

Trusteer advised consumers to keep at least three sets of credentials: one that's only used with financial websites, the second for websites that hold information about a user's identity, and the third set for other less sensitive websites. That's certainly a start, but web users also need to think about using hard-to-guess passwords able to withstand brute force dictionary password cracking attacks commonly used by even minimally-skilled cybercroooks.

Top tips from Microsoft (here) and Sophos (here) outline tactics for coming up with hard-to-break but straightforward enough to remember website login credentials. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.