Identity theft boom should spell the end of the password

The sharp rise in identity theft in the UK over the last year is a direct result of the widespread lax security procedures seen as consumers and companies alike persevere with outdated username and password-based authentication.

This already porous level of security is then made even less effective by the continued use of basic password combinations, which are then used for multiple logins.

In Intercede’s study The Rise of the Identity Centric Economy, these poor habits were painfully illustrated, with 60 per cent of UK consumers confirming they only used passwords they could ‘remember’. With statistics like these it’s no wonder identity theft is so prevalent in the UK.

The fact is that multiple complex passwords are difficult to remember and so inherently insecure. Instead it’s time companies took responsibility for the security of their consumers and governments took responsibility for the security of their citizens.

Much safer (and easier to use) two factor authentication technologies are available, already deployed in high security applications and could be much more widely implemented.

The Rise of the Identity Centric Economy study, conducted by Atomik Research and commissioned by Intercede, asked 2,000 UK consumers where they kept their passwords.

The results were:

  • I remember them: 59.9 per cent
  • I write them all down on a single notepad: 17.7 per cent
  • I use a password management solution: 12.0 per cent

When asked how they protect their digital identity, 25.8 per cent said they don’t take any steps and 53 per cent said they have a password/passcode on their mobile devices.

Richard Parris is CEO, of Intercede.