Survey finds password security still a problem

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Companies are having their security put at risk by employees writing down or sharing their passwords according to a new survey.

The study of 67,000 people, conducted by encryption and secure access company SafeNet, found that 50 percent of respondents still wrote down their computer passwords. More than a third shared their passwords with other users.

But companies themselves were taking security more seriously by implementing policies requiring longer passwords or ones containing alphanumeric characters. However, this has brought its own problems as these more complex passwords were hard to remember and users had to change them more often. Thirty per cent of respondents were required to change passwords seven or more times in a single year. This figure had risen three per cent from last year's survey.

The survey found that the number and complexity of passwords increased the likelihood of users forgetting or writing down passwords.

"This survey reinforces what we hear from our customers about their information security concerns," said SafeNet chairman and CEO, Tony Caputo. "Whether employees are writing their passwords down, or frequently calling the internal help desk because they can't remember them, the organization can be at risk while experiencing loss of productivity."

The survey questioned a mix of customers, prospects, partners and resellers of SafeNet in the US, UK, France and Germany.

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition

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