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Change in Passwords Crucial to Prevent Hacking, says McAfee Study

Passwords that are 'quite obvious' for a person can put computer users in danger of identity theft or online fraud, according to security researchers.

A survey by Security Company McAfee reveals that 16% of computer users use a single password repeatedly for all online accounts while 41% keep their password unchanged.

The survey follows after warnings from computer security professionals that the frequently and widely visited social networking sites like Facebook are enabling online criminals to easily target attacks.

Nearly half, about 43%, of respondents from a total of 3,500 in McAfee's survey keep on using the same password, exposing their identity to risk of online fraud in case their password is stolen or hacked. To make the problem worse, nearly a quarter, about 24%, of the people generally uses a single password for all online purposes.

The French respondents committed the maximum offense where 39% have only one password. The situation is also dangerous in the UK where a reasonably large fraction of 16% does not alter their passwords.

The survey shows that people tend to ignore experts' advice to create complex and longer passwords. A huge 30% of those surveyed created passwords of just 1-6 characters, while 22% simply used alpha letters in their passwords.

The survey also found that a majority of people use personal details in their passwords, for instance their academic history. It found that the most commonly used password was the name of a pet, then a hobby and lastly, the maiden name of mother. This is indeed a matter of concern when it comes to social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook where a lot of these details are open and users may fall victim of guesswork.

An old time hacker Mathew Bevan said the study raises worry as it demonstrates the slackening attitude of people. Telegraph.co.uk published this in news on October 8, 2007.

Another research by APACS, the payment association, showed that Internet banking fraud grew by 44% in 2006 to an amount of 33.5 Million pounds. Online shopping fraud was estimated at 155 Million pounds.

Related article: Chinese Hackers Threatening Korean Game Sites

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