The latest data from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) shows that millions of British people are still using their pet’s names as passwords, along with other easily guessed answers, even though it makes them an easy target for hackers.
This issue will likely persist into the future due to human beings’ desire for convenience and the difficulty of remembering ever more complex passwords for the multitude of online services they use. Although complex passwords are recommended, the issue of people using the same password for multiple services is the bigger problem. A password’s complexity is irrelevant if people use the same password for everything. The repercussions can be serious, as one compromised password can open an individual up to identity theft or even put their entire organisation at risk.
As we look ahead, there is the potential that security advice will be to move away from passwords altogether. We have already seen a rise in methods such as facial recognition and other biometric authentication forms in use in place of the traditional password. This shift may be essential, because although technical vulnerabilities may be harder to exploit in future, humans are already and will remain the most targeted link in cyber security, with the most tech-savvy individuals vulnerable to increasingly personalised and complex attacks. Relying on passwords may be a thing of the past.