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Three quarters of Britons risking online safety

15th October 2014 | Cyber Aware
Three quarters of Britons risking online safety

A new survey from Cyber Streetwise has revealed the vast majority of people are not taking the necessary steps to protect their identity online, with 75 per cent[i] admitting they do not follow best practice to create complex passwords.

New guidance from the government states the key to creating a strong password includes using three words or more and adding a symbol to make the password even more secure.

The figures were released to mark the launch of the latest phase of the government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign. In partnership with the police and industry experts, Cyber Streetwise aims to raise awareness of wise and unwise behaviour online.

Despite 95 per cent[ii] of Britons saying it is their own responsibility to protect themselves online, two thirds are risking their safety by not using symbols in passwords. Nearly half (47 per cent[iii]) have other unsafe password habits such as using pet names or significant dates as their password. The new statistics are revealed during Cyber Security Awareness Month and ahead of Get Safe Online week.

The research shows 82 per cent[iv] of people manage more online accounts that require a password than they did last year, with the average Briton dealing with 19[v]. Over a third[vi] (35 per cent) of those questioned admit that they do not create strong passwords because they struggle to recall them.

If passwords are compromised, financial and banking details can be stolen, causing problems for the person affected, for businesses and for the economy. There is an emotional impact caused by the loss of irreplaceable photos, videos and personal emails, but even worse, these can be seized to extort money. The good news is that most attacks can be prevented by taking some basic security steps highlighted on this site.

Tips for creating and remembering passwords include:

  • Loci method: Imagine a familiar scene and place each item that needs to be remembered in a particular location i.e. red rose on the table, book on chair, poster on wall. Imagine yourself looking around the room in a specific sequence. Re-imagine the scene and the location of each item when you need to remember
  • Acronyms: Use a phrase or a sentence and take the first letter from that sentence
  • Narrative methods: Remember a sequence of key words by creating a story and littering it with memorable details e.g. ‘the little girl wore a bright yellow hat as she walked down the narrow street…’

[i] Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2014, from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British individuals

[ii] National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker – Wave 2, May 2014

[iii] Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2014, from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British individuals

[iv] Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2014, from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British individuals

[v] Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2014, from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British individuals

[vi] Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2014, from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 British individuals