Biometrics: get ready to destroy all passwords

Wednesday, 21 January 2004, 12:47 AM EST

Street research carried out at Victoria Station earlier this year revealed that 90 per cent of people were willing to give their passwords to Infosecurity Europe researchers as part of a survey on identity theft - the researchers did not give any verification of their identity and their only tool was a clipboard. This research illustrates how easy it is to steal a person's identity and all their passwords - a problem which has cost the UK alone £1bn this year, according to statistics given out by Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes.

Identity theft and crimes resulting from obtaining passwords to get at information held on corporate networks or into someone's personal account has never been greater. More high-value information than ever before is now kept on the Internet or an intranet, causing a proliferation of passwords and compounding the problems associated with hacking, cracking and general computer misuse. It's not helped by the fact that most people are happy to give out their passwords to perfect strangers or colleagues and have to remember so many passwords that they write them down on 'post-it' notes beside their computers or store them in their address books, or on unprotected laptops or PDAs.

By Steve Barnett at Bios Magazine.

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