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Sales Of Fingerprint Technology Computers Soar As New Survey Reveals Brits' Password Confusion

Demand for fingerprint protected computers has soared because lazy Britons suffer from password fatigue when trying to log on.

Sales of computers and laptops equipped with the latest technology have risen an astonishing 91 per cent in the past three months as consumers look for better ways to safeguard their personal details and prevent against the risk of identity fraud.

Electrical retailer Comet revealed last week one in 14 computers and laptops (seven per cent) being bought now feature the latest fingerprint sensors, where the owner has to scan their fingerprint, making it impossible for unauthorised use.

The new survey suggests that the popularity of products with enhanced technology could be down to Britons becoming confused about which passwords they choose to protect their computers.

Worryingly, over one in three people (36 per cent) use the same password to log into files on home and work computers and over seven out of ten use fewer than four passwords in total.

Three quarters, 76 per cent, choose their partner's name, child's name or pet's name.

37 per cent of men have used their football team or name of their favourite player and a couldn't-care-less 11 per cent of those questioned admitted to using the word "password" to gain entry to their personal computer.

The research, which questioned over 1300 customers, found only 24 per cent confessed to taking the simplest of security measures to mix up letters and numbers in a password. Even then half of these admitted to using their own Christian or middle name and birthday.

The results of the research reveals that people are failing to heed advice to regularly change passwords in order to keep computer rogues at bay. More than half (51 per cent) say they are more concerned about forgetting their password than they are about computer security and hackers.

Even when people opt for an unusual password they write it down in a document file on their computer, in their mobile phone memory, in diaries or on pieces of paper which they leave in desk drawers. 64 per cent admitting writing down passwords they used for bank accounts.

There are fears that lax security practices are helping fuel a boom in online identity theft which is costing the UK an estimated £1.7 billion a year. One in six people (16%) say they have been victims of identity fraud.

The casual way people treat passwords security is further highlighted in that over 30 per cent admitting to telling colleagues at work or other family members their personal passwords.

Almost all of those questioned, 82% said they were fed up with passwords and would like a better way to login to computer systems.

One of the problems is the growing number of websites which require people to register and then log on before they can get entry. These include the likes of iTunes, Facebook and shopping sites. The average number of sites visited by people in a week which require then to register and log on was 17.

Bob Darke, Comet's Commercial Director said: "Fingerprint protected computers are in demand because they are an easy way to protect a computer and they eliminate the possibility of unauthorised access to a laptop or a PC because each individual's fingerprint is unique."

"It is easy to understand that people get fed up with being asked for passwords for so many different sites.

"Even so customers can take a few simple steps which makes it more difficult for the hacker to discover passwords and our in-store colleagues can help advise on computer use.

"Our advice is to avoid hackers stealing passwords consumers should mix up capital and lower case letters. When using a number avoid birthdates or house numbers - use a combination of the car's registration number instead which is easy to recall. Use a favourite place rather than a family name."

Most commonly chosen passwords
1 Partner's name
2 Your own name
3 Birthdate
4 Pet's name
5 Football team
6 "password"
7 Favourite singer/band
8 mother's/father's name
9 House name/street name or house number 10 123456 or abc123

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

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 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.