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UAE users' shocking password habits

Do You Stick it to PCs?

22% happily share personal account passwords with family & friends; 24% think their passwords are useless for criminals

A new survey shows that users in the UAE often take the easy way out when creating and storing their passwords even though more than a quarter have had their accounts hacked during the past one year.
About one in five of those surveyed (18 per cent) write down their passwords in a notebook, 11 per cent store them in a file on the device, and 6 per cent leave them on a sticker near the computer, according to a survey conducted by cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab and market research agency B2B International.
While only one in five (20 per cent) users create a separate password for each account, a little more than that (22 per cent of users) freely share their personal account passwords with family members and friends.
And even as a very sensible yet small percentage of respondents (5 per cent) use special password storage software, nearly a quarter of Internet users in the UAE assume their passwords are of no value to cyber criminals, the survey reveals.
However, passwords are the keys to the account holders’ personal data, private lives, and even their money – and if they are stolen, the consequences can affect not only individual users, but also their contacts, warns Kaspersky Lab.
For example, a compromised e-mail gives scammers access to every account that the user has connected to it, thanks to the messages it receives notifying of successful registrations or responses to password recovery requests.
In turn, a compromised account on a social networking site makes it possible to spread spam advertising and malicious links. A password to an account with an online store gives cybercriminals an opportunity to harvest financial data and spend other people's money.
However, 47 per cent of UAE respondents named passwords among the valuable information that they would not want to see in the hands of cybercriminals, while 24 per cent of that surveyed saw no inherent value in their passwords for criminals.
Meanwhile, statistics show that password theft is a common occurrence. In 2014, according to Kaspersky Security Network figures, Kaspersky Lab products protected 3.5 million people from malicious attacks which were capable of stealing usernames and passwords to accounts of various types.
Among 23 countries, 28 per cent of respondents in the UAE reported that their accounts had been hacked during the year.
“Even if you are not a celebrity or a billionaire, cybercriminals can profit from your credentials”, says Peter Aleshkin, Consumer Marketing Group Manager, Emerging Markets, Kaspersky Lab.
“A password is like a key to your home; you wouldn’t leave your door on the latch, or put your keys where anyone could find them, just because you don’t think you have anything of great value. Complex passwords unique to each account, carefully stored in a safe place, will save you a lot of trouble.”
To protect your account against unauthorised entry, Kaspersky suggests we follow a few simple rules:
• Create a unique password for each account: if one of them is stolen, the rest will remain safe.
• Create a complex password that won’t be easy to crack even using special programs. That means at least 8 symbols including upper and lower-case letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and no pet names or dates of birth.
• Do not give your password to anyone, not even your friends. If cybercriminals can’t steal it from your device, they might be able do it from someone else’s.
• Store your password in a safe place. Don’t write it down on paper; either remember it or use a special program for storing passwords from a reliable vendor.

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