Ineffective Password Security Practices

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 @ 07:05 PM gHale

Just over 13 percent of IT security professionals admit to being able to access previous employers’ systems using their old credentials, a new survey said.

The survey, conducted by Lieberman Software at an IT security conference, looked at the attitudes of more than 270 IT professionals toward password management and cloud security. It found of those who can still access their former employers’ systems, nearly 23 percent can get into their previous two employers’ systems using old credentials and more than 16 percent admit to still having access to systems at all previous employers.

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“The results of this research shows that a fundamental lack of IT security awareness in enterprises, particularly in the arena of controlling privileged logins, is potentially paving the way for a further wave of data breaches,” said Philip Lieberman, chief executive and president of Lieberman Software. “Organizations must implement a policy where privileged account passwords are automatically updated on a frequent basis, with unique and complex values. That way, when an employee does leave the company, he is not taking the password secrets that can gain access to highly sensitive systems.”

Other findings from the survey show 84 percent of organizations have a policy to ensure contractors cannot access corporate systems after they leave the company; however, more than 16 percent of respondents said their organization either does not have such a policy, or they are not aware of one.

“Companies and government agencies should not take such a lax approach to password management, especially given the attention that the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal has received,” Lieberman said. “Basic security best practices include minimizing the insider threat and sophisticated criminal hackers by managing the powerful privileged passwords that grant access to systems containing sensitive data.”

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