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The final days of user names and passwords

This is a contributed piece by Jan Valcke, President and CEO of VASCO Data Security.

This week’s announcement that the online password manager LastPass was hacked, made me realize that the term Secure Password has become the leading oxymoron of the 21st century. The issue of insecure passwords has resurfaced; this is once again a reminder to the need for one-time passwords.
The average internet user typically administers 25 accounts. These 25 accounts are protected by on average six different static passwords, but users seem to have a tender spot for certain kinds of passwords. Nicknames, dates of birth, children’s and pets’ names, and even the word ”password” are very popular.

Most surfers realize that passwords are a matter of the utmost concern. After all, passwords are the first, last and only safeguarding of an account against intrusion attempts. Long lists with tips and tricks to solve the problem can be found everywhere online: do not use real words, mix different character types and numbers, use different passwords for various accounts, change your passwords regularly. It becomes even harder when users are asked to change their passwords every 90 days. It is just an impossible task for the user to remember them all.

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