Warning over use of repeat passwords

Warning over use of repeat passwords
Warning over use of repeat passwords 

December 3, 2006

Computer users who type in the same username and password for multiple 
sites - such as online banks, travel agencies and booksellers - are at 
serious risk from identity thieves, a United Nations agency said.

The International Telecommunication Union, a Geneva-based UN branch, 
said businesses and regulators need to find a solution to the spread of 
personal information on the internet, possibly by developing more 
streamlined identification methods.

At the moment, the ITU said the sheer number of identifiers and 
passwords required from computer users made it nearly inevitable that 
they repeat passwords.

"This may cause security breaches, and leave them vulnerable to the 
machinations of identity thieves ever increasing in number and 
inventiveness," it said in its 2006 internet report, released ahead of a 
major meeting of governments and industry officials in Hong Kong.

"The lack of coordination in identification systems is a source of 
growing inconvenience to users and needs to be addressed rapidly," it 

The agency also highlighted risks to privacy from widespread internet 
use, especially from marketers tracking the preferences and traffic of 
browsers across a variety of sites.

If people have confidence in the way such information is stored and 
used, the ITU said there might be no problem from the proliferation of 
"cookies" and other data-capturing tools, often used for targeted online 

But it warned that a breakdown in consumer trust could impede the future 
expansion of internet-based commerce.

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