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Weak passwords still the norm, despite increased threat from cybercrime

Warwick Ashford

Passwords for online banking, email and other services remain weak despite the increased threat of cybercrime, research has shown.

Some 83% of people use their date of birth, maiden or pet name as a security password for online accounts, research by people search firm Yasni has found.

This statistic strengthens the case for the use of encryption on company data of all types, said Michael Callahan, vice president of security firm Credant Technologies.

"Despite all the issues surrounding cybercrime and the theft of personal data, human nature is such that simple and easy to remember passwords remain the norm," he said.

According to Callahan, the fact that so many people are using data that can easily be extracted from public records or even the Internet is extremely worrying.

"If that approach is transposed to a business environment, it makes company security very weak indeed," he said.

The head of Heartland Payment Systems, which was hit by a massive data breach last year, has recently called for industry collaboration including encryption to combat cybercrime attacks.

Cybercriminals gained access to potentially millions of credit card transaction details after planting spy software on Heartland systems.

Heartland chief executive Robert Carr is advocating the adoption of data encryption throughout the payments industry, as well as improved and safer standards of payments.


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