Password Security: What Users Know and What They Actually Do

By | March 3, 2006

Password protected accounts are very common and widely used for a variety of online applications including instant messaging, personal and business e-mail, and online banking and retail purchasing accounts. Given the sensitivity of the information within these accounts and the potential for abuse and misuse of this information by others, one might suspect that users would create very secure passwords.

This has not proven to be the case. In spite of the fact that online shoppers report that information security and protection are their primary concern, many studies have shown that users’ consistently use very simplistic, easily predictable practices when constructing and using passwords. This includes using meaningful words or personal dates that are easy to remember, using a proper name or using a word commonly found in the dictionary, or relating the password to the type of account for which it is used. Such predictable and systematic practices are easier for the user to remember but they sacrifice the security that passwords are intended to provide.Read Full Story

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