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Survey Reveals Best Practice Failures in Square Mile

City firms continue to reject basic best practice for IT security passwords, according to a new survey from IT company Quest Software. Quest’s study, which surveyed 200 workers in London’s Square Mile, indicates that companies are contravening a range of guidelines from the SANS Institute, the world’s largest and most trusted source of information security training and certification.

According to Quest’s findings, around half of system passwords are shorter than the recommended eight characters, making them too easy to crack.

Furthermore, 84 per cent of respondents are responsible for choosing their own passwords, whilst over 25 per cent use ‘real word’ passwords rather than the recommended alpha-numeric combinations. Both these practices are strongly discouraged as they can also lead to compromised security.

In another worrying trend, around a quarter of those workers surveyed also share passwords between work PCs and personal applications like web mail and online banking, again increasing the risk of password theft and unauthorised system access.

A third of respondents have shared confidential password information with work colleagues – another practice that raises security concerns.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.