Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chatterboxes: one in four divulge their password

Avira checks secrecy of passwords in a security survey

Tettnang, 26 June 2007 – 27.4 per cent of PC users make no secret of their password. Under the motto “Cross my heart...”, Avira asked visitors to its homepage www.free-av.de in May a question of conscience. This time the well-known AntiVir producer wanted to know how confidentially PC users treat their digital access passwords.

A total of 9,513 users stated if and to whom they pass on their passwords.
A total of 72.6 per cent of users asked by Avira keep their password strictly secret. The remaining quarter is less careful according to the study. There is particular trust within the family: 15.2 per cent share Internet access data and secret passwords with parents and siblings. Of those surveyed 6.5 percent said they prefer to rely on a piece of paper as an aid to remember their password rather than on their closest friends (4.1 per cent). Healthy mistrust also appears to exist in the business environment, since only 1.6 per cent of the participants in the study trust their colleagues. However, fear of snooping is completely unjustified: As Avira found out in its April survey, only 3.9 per cent of those asked would spy on the office computers of others should the opportunity arise.

“More than a quarter of the participants in the study do not treat their passwords as confidential”, says Tjark Auerbach, the founder and CEO of Avira. “The survey shows that humans are still the weak point in the security concept. Even the most up-to-date software and the best password which is changed regularly do not help if people do not keep their access details to themselves. Many people are also not even aware of the danger that such conduct represents – this applies in particular at work. For criminals, the password is almost an invitation to steal data. With it they can easily gain access to the server and copy internal company data stored on it.” In order to prevent such security flaws arising in the first place, the security expert recommends regular training. Auerbach says “If the security guidelines are comprehensible for the employees, they are also put into practise more easily, for example careful treatment of passwords”. For those who want to be absolutely certain, Auerbach recommends an alternative. “Hardware authentication provides a net with a false floor: only those who can identify themselves with the right password and an additional token or finger scan can obtain access. The combination of knowledge and possession considerably strengthens security.”

The current survey of the month is concerned with malware on cellphones or PDAs and can be found at www.free-av.de.

About Avira

Avira protects people in the connected world – enabling everyone to manage, secure, and improve their digital lives. The Avira umbrella covers a portfolio of security and performance applications for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. In addition, the reach of our protective technologies extends through OEM partnerships. Our security solutions consistently achieve best-in-class results in independent tests for detection, performance, and usability. Avira is a privately-owned company that employs 500 people. Its headquarters are near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany, and the company has additional offices in Romania, India, Singapore, China, Japan & the United States. A portion of Avira's sales support the Auerbach Foundation, which assists education, children, and families in need. For more information about Avira visit www.avira.com.