Feeds

Aussies’ password habits still slack, says study

Defibrillate me now

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

“Through 20 years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess,” is how xkcd puts it*.

That’s probably why people don’t change their passwords unless someone forces them to, which is the unsurprising finding emanating from a PayPal-sponsored study by the ANU-hosted Centre for Internet Safety.

The study also finds the widespread probably-delusional belief that “my password is hard to guess”, with 90 percent of the study’s 1,000 respondents comfortable that their variation on pet’s name and child’s birthday is safe.

Perhaps surprisingly, most users reported that they don’t put any personally identifying information in their passwords; but since they believe their password is safe, they then use the same password across multiple sites (63 percent of respondents, and 77 percent between the ages of 18 to 24 years old).

Mirroring behaviours overseas, we’re also slack about protecting the password, with the survey finding that 41 percent of respondents has shared their password with a friend, family member or colleague without changing the password afterwards.

The “xkcd effect” is present in our password behaviours: hard-to-remember passwords are written down by 46 percent of respondents, while younger users prefer to store their passwords on mobile phones.

In more reassuring news, the study found that most users – more than 95 percent – don’t want Websites to remember their passwords. Well, it would be reassuring, except that more than a third of users get around the forgotten password by leaving their computers logged into online sites, rising to 76 percent among the youngsters.

The paper is published by PayPal, here.

*The comic in question is here. I can’t vouch for 'Randall’s' math, but it would be a life-changing experience for most of us if he's right.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.