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Difficulty in remembering complex passwords a growing concern, says cyber-security expert

Using passwords to protect online systems could soon be a thing of the past as other security measures - including biometrics authentication - are gaining favour among tech players.

Speaking to The Sunday Times on Wednesday, Microsoft's cybersecurity field chief technology officer Diana Kelley said the industry has become increasingly concerned over the difficulty that people face in remembering and designing complex passwords.

In fact, according to a report in 2017, from password manager software company Lastpass, the average business employee must keep track of 191 passwords.

Ms Kelley added: "You may have multiple passwords for different retail sites, for your airline, for your bank and for your healthcare services. We are asking people to remember tens or hundreds of these complex passwords."

Microsoft had organised a two-day cyber-security event at its recently opened Experience Centre in Frasers Tower, where it demonstrated its technology to potential customers and partners. It was also attended by journalists from Asia.

In Singapore, some steps are being taken to update authentication software.

For instance, the Government introduced a fingerprint scanning and facial recognition system last year for Singaporeans to access e-government services on their smartphones through the SingPass Mobile app.

Ms Kelley said: "Password-less technology takes factors from the person such as the biometric data of their fingerprint or their face. It combines that with what we know about the person including, for example, the hardware they are using and its components."

The outcome is an experience that appears seamless for the user without having to sacrifice cybersecurity, she said.

In the meantime, as much of the world is still on password-guarded systems, cyber hygiene and the need to constantly be mindful of it, remains the biggest challenge in cybersecurity.

Ms Kelley pointed out that people have become fatigued in keeping up with safe online practices.

According to Verizon's 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80 per cent of hacking-related breaches are a result of weak or compromised credentials or passwords.

In the same way, people continue to eat junk food and lead inactive lives even though they know the importance of a healthy diet and exercise - many people still have bad cyber hygiene practices, said Ms Kelley.

She added: "Cyber hygiene is one of our greatest first lines of defence. Make sure you have strong authentication systems and the most up-to-date operating systems which are properly patched. These are the basics of blocking and tackling in a cyber-security program."

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Hariz Baharudin

Quelle/Source: The Straits Times, 25.11.2019

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