UN agency report finds passwords put user’s security at risk

A UN agency report warned yesterday that the popularity of the web is leading to the proliferation of passwords – that in turn is leaving users at a heightened risk of identity theft.

In today’s society the need for authentication is everywhere, when we log on to our PCs, when we call our banks and in nearly everything we do online. Passwords are by far the most popular form of identification for websites, meaning we often re-use the same password rather than creating a new one.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released a report yesterday stating that the growing trend of people repeatedly using the same password, puts users at a greater threat of identity theft and will eventually become wasted time and very unwieldy.

The report also calls on regulators and businesses to find better ways for their users to identify themselves to Web sites.

“It seems that everything we do on the internet requires us to register and assign ourselves a password. Of course, we welcome the security, but eventually it becomes necessary for us to reuse the same passwords in order for us to remember them, ultimately jeopardising this security,” says George Skaff, VP of DigitalPersona. “Many organisations are now looking towards more sophisticated technologies to provide one-factor authentication that can be used securely online – like fingerprint biometrics.

Businesses are using software that adds fingerprint authentication to access virtually any web applications – offering heightened security with the convenience of a single touch of the finger.”

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