Up to 33% of UAE respondents in a new study are using passwords that are overly simple and prone to brute-force attacks, indicating a misunderstanding of existing cybercrime threats.
A brute-forced or stolen password can give access to a user's every last detail – starting with personal photos and finishing with credit card details. That's why it's highly advisable to use complex passwords to access online services.
It is also important not to use the same password for different services, for fear of losing not only important data but also your "online" personality, for example, via accounts on social networking sites.
The survey carried out for Kaspersky Lab by O+K Research in 25 countries worldwide shows that the risks of simple passwords is not fully understood by users in the UAE.
According to the survey, users in UAE use insecure passwords which are easily brute-forced without any special techniques are used far too often. Examples include a date of birth (11%), a middle name (8%) or a pet's name (6%). This sort of information may be known not only by your close friends or relatives.
A creative fraudster can easily find it on the Internet, for example, on social networking sites. Another 14% of those surveyed use a simple combination of figures such as '123456' or similar, and 8% of respondents simply use the word "password". This type of "protection", like other passwords based on easy-to-guess words, can be easily and quickly brute-forced.
Another problem which is often overlooked is the repeated use of the same password. In theory, this avoids the danger of forgetting passwords. In practice, though, if this universal password is compromised, fraudsters have an easy path into several accounts, services and programs.
According to O+K Research, 12% of users in UAE use one password for all accounts while 30% use different passwords for each account. Given one third of the survey participants (37%) never heard of applications or services that allow users to centrally manage and protect multiple devices, so we can imagine the size of the potential security breach.
As mentioned above, the place where you store your password is very important when it comes to data security. The good news at least is that most users in UAE (78%) prefer to memorise and not to write them which is not bad in itself, but often results in simple passwords or one password for several accounts.
Around 44% admitted that they have forgotten a vital password at least once. Just 5% write the password on a piece of paper and leave it near their computer, while 10% use an ordinary paper notebook for this purpose.