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22 Apr 2024, Edition - 3205, Monday

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Are you a victim of password reuse syndrome?

Dr.Muthu Kumaran, GM, ITMR, Chennai


Thanks to the digital development that we are witnessing at an excellent pace,our online life is predominantly governed by passwords. The biggest irony is that we keep reusing / creating login / password combinations for online transactionssuch as booking railway tickets, movie tickets and the like. We also have personal / official mails and personal devices controlled by passwords. We surf through online stores and we create login / password combinations in the hope that we would use the services later. Added to this, most online entities provide us with the luxury of using our social interaction site passwords, to register and use their services. This luxury is under the assumption that we do not forget our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ passwords.

An observation which is building up to boomerang on us is the reuse of passwords, otherwise called the password reuse syndrome. It’s time we start worrying about the number of passwords reused across the internet. With one breach, one password could crack open dozens of accounts. Internet breach is not an isolated event and has been reported by all major Internet players.

A simple search on Google throws up interesting information on this subject. We have cultivated the habit of reusing passwords across different electronic outlets for our ease of operation. Today the industries are suffering due to the password reuse crisis. Data dumps in the market are hunting gardens for login / password credentials, which are made available on the Internet. These data dumps allow hackers to easily pick up the information they are looking for. Once a hacker successfully obtains a password, he or she can use it for whatever benefit they need.Reusing passwords is not new and has been pointed out as a cause for alarm by security practitioners for several years. However, people still prefer convenience over security.

Security practitioners recommendusing passphrases,which are sentences for generating specific combinations, to get out of this reuse syndrome. Users are advised to opt for / prefer two factor authentication along with passphrases. It is recommended that users change their passwords frequently described under personal change discipline.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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