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UAE residents’ password dilemmas revealed: Weak and memorable vs ‘So secure I forgot it’

 

DUBAI – What if suddenly you can’t log into the online account you need, when you need it? What if you get the dreaded “password error” message?

Nowadays, people are increasingly facing a dilemma – how to choose their passwords, according to a new study by Kaspersky Lab.

Some end up using strong and different passwords for every single account so that nothing can be hacked or exploited, but risk forgetting their passwords in the process. Others choose memorable passwords that make their lives easier, but also play right into cybercriminal hands.

Option: strong passwords that are hard to remember

According to research from the cybersecurity company, many consumers understand the need for strong passwords on their accounts. When asked which three of their online accounts required the strongest passwords, 47 percent of consumers the UAE selected online banking accounts, 35 percent selected payment applications including e-wallets, and 26 percent online shopping.

However, the difficulty of remembering all these strong passwords means people are likely to forget them and still get locked out of their accounts.

Two in five (35%) people cannot quickly restore passwords to their personal online accounts after losing them. This may lead to feelings of frustration or stress if they can’t carry on their normal activities as a result.

When it comes to password storage, half of UAE users surveyed store passwords insecurely, with 19 percent writing them in a notepad so that they don’t have to remember them, which also puts their security at risk.

Option: weak passwords that are easy to crack

As an alternative answer to the password dilemma, and to avoid the frustration of having to remember long passwords, some people are developing other insecure password habits instead.

For example, 14 percent of UAE consumers use just one password for all accounts, allowing them to live their online lives seamlessly, without ever struggling to remember how to login to anything. That’s until a cybercriminal gets hold of that one key password and unlocks everything for themselves, of course.

Indeed, 53 percent of the UAE consumers surveyed by Kaspersky Lab have faced the threat of, or have successfully had, an online account hacked in the past 12 months. Emails are the most targeted accounts 51 percent, closely followed by social media 42 percent, banking accounts 12 percent and shopping accounts 19 percent.

Third option

According to Kaspersky Lab, consumers don’t have to be limited to just two options in answering their password dilemmas.

There is in fact no need for them to compromise, as Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab explains, “If people have strong passwords that they can remember, they will not only be able to access everything they need, whenever they need it, but the information held in their accounts will also be secure from hackers.”

“Remembering secure passwords is difficult, meaning users face a password dilemma every day – and often either forget strong passwords or end up creating passwords that are easy to remember but also easy to hack,” he said.

“There is a third option which can bring consumers peace of mind – using a password manager solution allows people to have strong passwords, without having to write them down in notepads or remember complicated strings of words with special characters,” he added. DAJ/Expat Media

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