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Analysts argue against password protection due to security weaknesses

06 January 2016 - 09:48 by Mike Price

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Passwords are used to access everything from the accounts people create to go shopping online to the email accounts and apps they use in the workplace. But analysts at KPMG claim that this type of authentication method should be ditched because of the potential for exploitation that it affords, according to CRN.

KPMG spokesperson, David Ferbrache, said that 2016 will be a year in which the number of attacks carried out by cyber criminals and terrorists groups will intensify. And since passwords are seen as the weakest link in the chain of digital security, he argues that more sophisticated methods of protection should be adopted in the coming months.

While Ferbrache does not believe that it is possible for passwords to be entirely usurped this year, he does believe that the time at which they are rendered obsolete is just around the corner. And there are plenty of alternative methods by which legitimate users can identify themselves, while malicious third parties are kept at bay.

One of the issues with current password practices, aside from the persistent presence of very common and thus very weak phrases, is that people are advised to adopt long, complex passwords which are hard to remember. So once one is retained in the mind, people are tempted to keep reusing it for different services.

Password reuse is problematic because it means that if you want to carry out safe shopping online but your details have been harvested from another service you use, a criminal would easily be able to access your shopping account and carry out identity theft.

Alternatives such as fingerprint scanning, which are already in use on devices like the iPhone, could ultimately render passwords obsolete. But it does mean that people will have to be willing to let businesses get hold of their biometric information.