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Perimeter

2/24/2009
06:37 PM
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Consumer Password Status Quo

So what's it going to take for consumers to take security seriously? Apparently a lot more than the nearly 10 million cases of identity fraud and massive breaches at their favorite discount retail chains. If they haven't already had their credit card accounts compromised, most everyone knows of someone who has. But apparently that's not incentive enough for them to

So what's it going to take for consumers to take security seriously? Apparently a lot more than the nearly 10 million cases of identity fraud and massive breaches at their favorite discount retail chains. If they haven't already had their credit card accounts compromised, most everyone knows of someone who has. But apparently that's not incentive enough for them to change their ways about passwords. According to a new Gartner report, two-thirds of U.S.consumers say they use the same one or two passwords on all Websites.Two-thirds.

I'm the first to admit that I regularly struggle to remember all of my passwords on various Websites. And, sure, it's tempting to reuse a password or two just so I don't have to slog through the "Forgot your password?" process (or face my premature senility). But, instead, I just regularly forget my passwords and change them.

What's especially disturbing about Gartner's report, which was based on a September survey of 4,000 U.S. adults who browse online, is that not much has changed for most users: Consumers prefer convenience over security features. Most aren't interested in password management software or hardware, or things like OpenID and information card options, according to Gartner's findings. They want the easy way out (and in).

So while cybercrime grows and becomes increasingly treacherous for anyone online, consumers for the most part have no intention of changing their ways. Choosing a strong password for each and every Website, or considering an online information card for authentication, isn't worth losing the convenience of always remembering a password, especially if it's easy to guess.

What will it take for consumers to stop blowing off security? Heck if I know. So feel free to post a comment here if you have any ideas on how to get your friends and neighbors to start fighting back with more secure online practices.

-- Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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