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UK cyber chief recommends using any old password

As easy as abc123
Mon Jan 20 2014, 10:21
Security threats - password theft

THE HEAD of the UK government's Get Safe Online campaign does not insist on secure passwords and reckons that anything is better than nothing.

Tony Neate did not tell the Guardian that "abc123" is a good password, but he said that it is a nice, convenient entry-level password, presumably for protecting a drawer in a fridge. From a dog.

"We use the analogy that 'if you haven't got a lock on your door, any lock is better than no lock'," he told the Guardian.

"But if you are going to put a lock on your door, the best one to put on is a five-lever [mortice] lock. It's the same analogy. I would recommend anyone to have a good, solid password. But if they haven't got a password then 'abc123' is a starting point. I'm not suggesting people should have 'abc123'. But something is better than nothing, and I'm very pragmatic when it comes to passwords."

The UK Government's Get Safe Online campaign introduced a new feature last week, a nanny-like handholding through the risks and bad guys on the internet, and Neate was speaking at the launch of something called the Cyber to the Citizen initiative. This has the backing of the BCS IT professional body and its head of cyber security John Doody.

This initiative has a range of aims, but according to Neate at its heart is a message about the importance of using passwords.

"One of the most important things that we can ever speak to people about is passwords," added Neate. "People keep on saying passwords are going to be dead in four or five years... okay. But they're not now."

Ah, but remember, not all passwords are created equal, and the usual best practice advice is to choose one that's hard to crack. µ


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