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Password security? What password security?

Australians do not take enough care when choosing their passwords, according to a new password guide by AVG Australia.cyber security

AVG Australia, an anti-virus and internet security company, claims that Australians are not taking passwords carefully and are leaving themselves vulnerable to hackers. A recent article by the New York Times found that the most popular password for Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail users was ‘123456’.

A major problem when it comes to choosing passwords is the number of sites that require passwords today, according to Security Evangelist for AVG (AU/NZ) Lloyd Borrett.

“The problem is that there are so many ’light’ password gateways today. Web sites seek to create ‘sticky’ pages that users will repeatedly revisit by offering password access only. But these gateways obfuscate the importance of the ‘heavy’ passwords that you need to keep close to your chest and that you need to create intelligently,” Mr Borrett said.

“Just to be clear, there is no industry de facto term that defines a ‘heavy’ password – we are simply drawing a distinction between a casually used password that might for example let you view an online news item, to that of your online banking password which should be ultra-robust and definitely not the same as the one you use to access social networking sites like Facebook,” Mr Borrett added.

AVG’s new password guide suggests following these steps to increase your password security:

1.    Don’t use cardinal numbers in order: 1,2,3,4,5 etc.

2.    Think illogically; computers rely on logic to operate.

3.    Be obtuse, think outside the box, invent a new word!

4.    Never use your mother’s maiden name or any password that your bank might use.

5.    Mix keyboard characters such as the asterisk with letters and numbers.

6.    Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters.

7.    Always change default passwords from ‘password’ or ‘admin’.

And lastly and very importantly NEVER tick the ‘remember this password’ box.

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Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke

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