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Top E-commerce Sites Fail To Protect Users From Stupid Passwords 162

Martin S. writes "The Register reports that 'Top UK e-commerce sites including Amazon, Tesco and Virgin Atlantic are not doing enough to safeguard users from their own password-related foibles, according to a new study by Dashlane ... 66% accept notoriously weak passwords such as '123456' or 'password,' putting users in danger as these are often the first passwords hackers use when trying to breach accounts. ... 66% make no attempt to block entry after 10 incorrect password entries (including Amazon UK, Next, Tesco and New Look). This simple policy prevents hackers from using malicious software that can run thousands of passwords during log-ins to breach accounts.'" xkcd has some insight about why this is bad for users generally, not just on any sites that happen to get compromised. Rules that require ever more complexity in passwords, though, probably backfire quite a bit, too.
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Top E-commerce Sites Fail To Protect Users From Stupid Passwords

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  • by allsorts46 ( 1725046 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:26PM (#46456957) Homepage

    I tried recently to change my banking password to something much longer, only to find there's a limit of just 14 characters. None of the several bank staff I asked about it could tell me why that is.

  • by Holladon ( 1620389 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:46PM (#46457173)

    Eh. It kinda works. If your goal is to invade Amazon accounts using the method laid out in the strip, it's that much easier to do because by allowing you to use anything for a password, they're more likely to have people using simple repeat passwords that, even if not common for everyone, are common for the user. If those sites had more stringent requirements, you couldn't use your childhood dog's name as a password like you've been doing for various account passwords since high school.

    But yeah -- this xkcd [] was probably the more applicable strip.

  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @04:04PM (#46457339) Journal

    The only real solution to password re-use (site to site) I can think of is requiring changes and making sure past passwords aren't used again.

    Perhaps require the site's name to be part of the password (and not at either end), this won't add much entropy, but maybe enough that along with lock-out after a certain number of guesses it could be sufficient.

    Two factor authentication, with a different token per site, but short one, around 4 digits, is the only way I can think to have memorable passwords AND site-to-site security. But that introduces it's own issues. Perhaps that plus a long password in a vault (similar to Google's lost my token password).

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @04:19PM (#46457471)

    From what it sounds like, stealing money is harder than people think (myself included until I just read through that rather great link), but it's far from impossible. Moreover, a large part of the paper makes the point that it's not the customer who had their password stolen that will suffer the financial damage, but rather the person who owns the account that's used as a mule to move the funds, meaning that there's still a victim, just not who we thought.

    For instance, if they get your password, they can't just cash your account out, since they don't have your ATM card, your PIN, or your government-issued ID. They first need to transfer the money to an account they control. But they don't want that account linking back to them either, which is where those spam e-mails about someone having $10,000 for you come into play. They'll send a person your $10,000 in exchange for that person sending them a $1000 "commission", and that person will then be scammed out of the $1000 they paid as a commission when you repudiate the $10,000 transfer and it's removed from their account. They're partially to blame too, of course, since they've allowed themselves to be taken in by an obvious scam, but its the people engaging in bad password practices (both users and developers) that are enabling the scammers to scam in the first place.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.