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Analysts: new technology will crack our passwords

Technology analysts predict that 2013 will be the year that hackers will outfox an unprecedented number of web users over the passwords they use for online accounts.

On the back of Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2013, the report’s director of research, Duncan Stewart, emphasised the growing vulnerability of our everyday passwords. He claims the tools now available to miscreants will be enough to gain access to accounts in “over 90 per cent of cases.”

“Deloitte predicts that in 2013, the era of abundant and strong user-generated password protection will more or less come to an end,” Stewart says. “Up until now, people created passwords - even for high-value applications like banking - secure in the knowledge that they were good enough. In 2013, a variety of tools will mean ‘good enough’ will not be good enough, and we could see losses of billions of dollars; and faith in the very security of our online transactions could evaporate.”

Traditionally, we have been advised that alphanumerical passwords with a combination of lower and upper cases are robust enough to keep our accounts secure. But even these become formulaic for most us, with capital letters at the beginning and numbers in sequence at the end, according to Stewart, who says “we’re bad at being random.”

What’s more, he claims the average person has around 25 accounts but only six passwords, and this propensity to re-use words plays in the hands of hackers who only need to decipher one or two passwords to gain access to multiple areas.

To see how we can shore up our online accounts, ITProPortal recently explored the advantages of password managers and other security tools that are available.