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Advisor readers slam lax users

But even our survey shows some of us are insecure

It seems PC Advisor readers are a security minded lot. On Thursday we carried a story about a limited survey conducted prior to an upcoming IT security show in which people admitted to IT security breaches. We asked for your comments on whether you'd be as lax — most of you couldn't believe what you read.

We ran our poll until we had more votes than the survey itself &mdash 175 votes to Infosec's 150, less than 10 percent the number we normally like to count on and get — and the results (pictured) speak for themselves.

More than two thirds of those polled by us don't believe you do anything that is careless when it comes to IT security. The comments on the associated thread we started in the Consumerwatch forum were incredulous at the parlous security exhibited by those originally polled.

"I work in a large, multinational company and have access to various secure programs. I do not give out any passwords to anyone — that's the whole point of them. As an aside, I won't even give my ISP password to my son!" said Paul Sanders.

Alan Godward agreed. "I work in a computer centre were I am the Systems Administrator & Manager," he said. "When new users come in I stress the importance of keeping their password a secret and the implications of giving it to somebody else."

But although 68.6 percent of those polled said they'd never do anything bad, nearly a third had, with 14.3 percent of people saying they'd done several of the things we used as example 'no-nos'.

And within the remarks of Advisor visitors were some phrases that tell a story that fits slightly better with a combined view of both surveys:

"As a user of PCs now for over 15 years, I now would not give out my password to anyone, even the people who support our IT in work," said John Oliver. But, he says, "[i]n the past, I thought nothing of giving my password to other people in the company, so that they could access my system etc.

"I would say that more that you understand about system and data security the less likely you are to give out passwords, but if you are a… home user who does not work in a computer related job, you would probably not understand the implications of giv[ing] out your passwords for your system, web access etc.," he said.

Another contributor, Joe Black, had had similar experiences. "A password protects privacy amongst other things, but I was offered a senior member's password once whilst working for BT: it had access to entire telephone network, customers accounts and so on," he said.

So, be warned. None of us thought 150 people was a representative sample, and to an extent neither is the 325 one gets by combining our results. But there are still a fair number of people out there who don't understand the importance of security — keep spreading the word.


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