Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are We Secure in Online World?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are We Secure in Online World?

Article excerpt

AFTER a security error highlighted the issue of internet security LINDSEY SAMPSON looks at whether we are doing enough to stay safe online BY now, we should all have the rules of creating a secure password drilled into us - don't write it down, include a mix of letters and numbers, and change it often.

But how many of us really obey these rules and how safe is our private data? The question has come to the fore after a security error meant the private passwords of Boro season ticket holders were printed on renewal forms in place of the fans' "Boro ID" number.

In a world of social networking, internet banking and online shopping, most people have a plethora of personal information stored somewhere out there on the world wide web - and, without proper security, it could be out there for all to see.

Dave Eagle, academic developer at Teesside University and an expert in computing and information security, believes people need to be more security conscious with internet passwords. He said: "You really shouldn't have the same password for online banking, for example, and something more trivial.

"People should be more security aware with IT. People buying stuff on eBay, iTunes, Amazon, there are an awful lot of people using these kinds of services and they need to be more careful about not using passwords for that which are used for other things.

"A basic rule of security, not just in IT, is that the more convenient it is the less secure it is, by which I mean if it is easy for you to remember, it's probably not very secure."

In one lecture Mr Eagle held a straw poll with computing students, who he said were more security savvy than most, which revealed most held a number of different passwords.

"On average in the room we had four passwords each, one for really significant stuff like HMRC, banking and stuff like that. Another for high-risk personal secure stuff, another for email and less risky stuff but still important, and a last one for throw away stuff like a web discussion forum. …

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