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Ofcom reveals online password security risk

A recent study by Ofcom has revealed that UK adults are risking their online security by using identical or easy to remember passwords.


According to Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013, 55% of adult internet users admitted they use the same password for most, if not all, websites.

A quarter said they use passwords like birthdays and names which can open them up to the threat of account hacking, with a quarter stating that remembering passwords is too hard.

James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said: "While our research shows that some people are still taking security risks online, they clearly feel these are outweighed by the benefits that the internet brings. We are seeing more and more adults turning to the internet for information and as a way of keeping in touch."

Online users are being advised that once a fraudster has an important password, they can run up bills and cause considerable financial and personal damage.

Action Fraud tips for creating a strong password

  • Try not to use the same password for more than one account. This will prevent further accounts being taken over if one has been compromised.
  • Use complicated passwords: vary the case, use 8 or more characters. Never use personal information such as your date of birth or names.
  • Try not to post information on social media such as your birth date, your first pet, or school as these are normally included in security questions to reset your password. Fraudsters may use these answers to access your account via the “Forgot Password” link.

For further information visit the Ofcom’s website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

Related links

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Tips for protecting your computer in 2013

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