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Basic Password Guidance Can Dramatically Improve Account Security, Study Shows

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Poor password management.

Plymouth University researchers found that providing even minimal guidance helps technology users choose more secure passwords.

Credit: Getty Images

Researchers at Plymouth University in the U.K. found technology users who receive basic password guidance were up to 40% more likely to make their choices  more secure.

Users who were given feedback, such as how likely it was that hackers could guess their passwords, also were up to 10 times more likely to change their original choice to something more secure.

In one experiment, 300 users creating an Internet account were offered either no feedback or a range of advice including a standard password meter, emojis, or an emotive feedback message. The researchers found the number of password choices rated as "weak" fell from 75% when users were given no guidance to about 33% when they were shown more emotive messages.

In a second study, 500 U.S. volunteers presented with more specific security-related advice had a significantly greater understanding of the risk, which led them to create passwords that were longer and up to 10 times stronger.

From Plymouth University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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