Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Avira Moral Issue

Most web surfer take a responsible attitude with their passwords

Avira advises against the use of universal passwords and offers tips to producing better access IDs

Tettnang, 11 December 2009 – In a survey carried out on www.free-av.com in July 2009, IT security expert Avira investigated how Internet users handle their passwords. The answers from the 5,281 respondents show that although most users are aware of the security of their personal access data, in some cases they use just one password for all cases, thereby exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.

According to the survey, 33 percent (1,753) of Internet surfer handle their passwords very responsibly. They use a different secure password for each account and generally treat their passwords as strictly confidential. According to expert recommendations, this is exactly the right approach. However, the survey also shows that 25 percent (1,326) of all users use just one password for all of their accounts. If their universal password is revealed, they open the doors to all their online activities to cybercriminals. Once the single password has been cracked, criminals can misuse several services using assumed names, for example sending links to harmful software disguised as private messages. In the worst cases, hackers manage to use the account holder’s data to make purchases at his expense.

As the Avira moral issue question also shows, almost 20 percent of users (1,039) make a note of their password to ensure they don’t forget it. In order to maintain an overview when using multiple secure passwords, Avira recommends using a password manager. Such tools, which are also available free-of-charge, are already used by almost 13 percent (669) of respondents. Those who cannot remember their access data or who log in too infrequently are among the nine percent (494) of users who have a new password sent to them every time they log onto a site.

“A secure password should contain more than eight characters and should be a random sequence of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters and digits,” advises Travis Witteveen, Head of Sales & Marketing at Avira GmbH. “There are useful tricks for memorizing these usually hard to remember passwords: thus for example, the sentence ‘My 2 kids go to school at 8 in the morning and I see them again in the evening at 6’ gives you the secure password ‘M2kgtsa8itmaIstaitea6’. Users should generate a separate secure password for every service or account they use if they are to avoid putting several accounts at risk should they ever lose a password.”

Avira’s free AntiVir Personal offers basic protection against viruses, worms and Trojans. Avira AntiVir Premium and Avira Premium Security Suite offer users additional security as they surf the net. Their MailGuard and WebGuard features offer reliable protection against phishing and spyware and thus prevent password theft. Avira also guarantees that all its products are “Made in Germany” and contain no backdoors for data espionage. For further information see www.avira.com.

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