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Researchers: Poor password practices hurt security for all




Researchers: Poor password practices hurt security for all
Researchers: Poor password practices hurt security for all



http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9177780/Researchers_Poor_password_practices_hurt_security_for_all 

By Elizabeth Heichler
IDG News Service
June 7, 2010

A large-scale study of password-protected Web sites revealed a lack of 
standards across the industry that harms end-user security, according to 
two researchers working at the University of Cambridge in England.

In particular, the weak implementations of password-based authentication 
at lower-security sites compromises the protections offered at 
higher-security sites because individuals often re-use passwords, Joseph 
Bonneau and Soren Preibusch asserted in a paper presented at the 
Workshop on the Economics of Information Security in Cambridge, Mass., 
Monday.

Attackers can use low-security Web sites such as news outlets to figure 
out passwords associated with certain e-mail addresses, and then use 
those passwords to access accounts at higher-security sites such as 
e-commerce vendors, Bonneau said.

In an effort that the researchers said is the largest empirical 
investigation into password implementations to date, they collected data 
from 150 Web sites and found widespread "questionable design choices, 
inconsistencies, and indisputable mistakes," according to Bonneau and 
Preibusch.

[...]


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