Change passwords frequently?

Passwords' guidance man apologises for "bananas" advice

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Password Guidance: Simplifying Your Approach

Introduction: the problems with passwords

The death of the password was predicted some ten years ago. It was assumed that alternative authentication methods would be adopted to control access to IT infrastructure, data, and user material. But since then, password use has only risen.

This increase in password use is mostly due to the surge of online services, including those provided by government and the wider public sector. Passwords are an easily-implemented, low-cost security measure, with obvious attractions for managers within enterprise systems. However, this proliferation of password use, and increasingly complex password requirements, places an unrealistic demand on most users.

Inevitably, users will devise their own coping mechanisms to cope with ‘password overload’. This includes writing down passwords, re-using the same password across different systems, or using simple and predictable password creation strategies. A study within a Scottish NHS trust found that 63% of its users admitted to re-using passwords.

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