Change your password less often, says security agency

In a piece of advice that seemingly contradicts everything else we’ve ever heard, GCHQ has recommended you should change your password less often.

According to the spy agency’s cybersecurity arm, forcing people to change their passwords regularly is ineffectual, because they are likely to choose a new password that is very similar to the old one.

They are also more likely to write the new password down, for fear of forgetting it. This increases the risk of the password falling into the wrong hands.

“Attackers can exploit this weakness,” says the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). “The new password may have been used elsewhere, and attackers can exploit this too.”

Instead of forcing a changed password at regular intervals, it recommends organisations provide users with information on when their account was last activated.

GCHQ says sticking to the same password for a long time – unless it’s something like ABC123 – is a good idea.

The news comes as a new study into online privacy reveals that one in three Brits secretly know their partner’s passwords .

The survey by money-saving website VoucherCodesPro has revealed the UK’s attitude to trusting loved ones with our passwords .

It discovered that almost three quarters of us have looked through social media messages on someone else’s account without their permission.

The team responsible for the study polled 2,211 UK adults between 18 and 45 who have been in their current relationship for at least two years.

Initially respondents were asked if their partner let them access their social media channels when they wanted to; 51% of respondents stated they did. Respondents were then asked if their partner had let them know their password for social media channels, 21% stated they had.

Following straight on from this, all respondents were then asked if they knew their partner’s password without them being aware of this – with 34% stated they did.

Researchers asked these participants how it was they found their partners password out, 59% stated they ‘guessed’ it, 37% said they ‘keyboard watched’ and the remaining 4% asked their partner’s friends.

As to what those sneaky snoopers got up to once they’d accessed their partner’s accounts – the researchers provided a list:

  • Looked through social media messages – 74%
  • Looked through the photo gallery – 59%
  • Looked through emails – 54%
  • Looked through browser history – 46%
  • Looked through bank statements – 39%

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk , made the following comments regarding the study:

“Being open with your partner is incredibly important and snooping at their social media channels or any private documentation just isn’t the way to achieve a healthy relationship,” said George Charles, a spokesperson for VoucherCodesPro.

“Knowing your partner’s password without their knowledge will only lead to trouble. It suggests you are looking for something and if you look hard enough, you will always find something to convince you that your fear is real.”

By Jeff Parsons for www.mirror.co.uk

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