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UK Consumers Fail on Password Security

Internet users are still failing to take adequate precautions to safeguard their data, but many are willing to take the time out to change their ways, according to Centrify.

The security vendor polled 2400 consumers across the UK, US and Germany to better understand attitudes to cyber-attacks and data security for its 2016 Consumer Trust report.

It found that bad practice is still endemic despite growing media coverage of cyber issues, with over a third of UK respondents claiming to change their passwords “once a year, less or never.”

However, over half of German respondents (52%) said they’d be happy to spend at least 10 minutes on security measures, followed by 46% in the US, with the UK bringing up the rear with a disappointing 30%.

The fingerprint ID was named as the security measure they’d feel most comfortable using, followed by alphanumeric and then four-digit passwords.

“People can no longer afford to put their data at risk. To protect themselves and their personal information, they need to improve their password hygiene and follow simple precautionary steps, such as monitoring their online accounts and frequently changing their passwords,” argued Centrify EMEA managing director, Andy Heather.

“They should also look to organizations, including retailers and banks, to offer additional or next-level security such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) or biometrics as part of their own security processes and do business with them.”

The past few months have shown that password management is still an issue for users. Data dumps in the combined hundreds of millions from the likes of Rambler, Last.fm, QIP and more have shown many still use simple credentials such as “123456” or “qwertyuiop.”

These can be easily guessed or brute forced by cyber-criminals.

Less surprisingly, Centrify found that consumers are most fearful about their bank or credit card statements getting hacked, with 85% of Brits ranking it a top concern.

Far fewer (45%) were worried about their health records, or their family info (41%) falling into the wrong hands.

Information related to criminal history, web browsing history and dating profiles was of the least concern to consumers, despite the potential in all of these areas for hackers to use the info to blackmail their victims in the way many have done following the Ashley Madison breach.

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