Many UK ecommerce sites allow ‘password’ for logins – report

As well as ‘abc123’ and ‘123456’, would you believe

Many of the UK’s most popular ecommerce sites have unsafe password practices, according to a new study, with four in five not requiring the use of a capital letter and a number/symbol.

Also, 16 per cent of sites accept the ten most common passwords, including “password”, according to security management outfit Dashlane. This means users on sites such as Wickes, River Island, and Asda Groceries can use easily guessable passwords, such as “abc123” and “123456”.

Testers also found that 56 per cent of sites allow users to have a password less than eight characters long, including IKEA, Amazon UK, and eBay.

However, it isn’t all bad news and some consumer-focused sites do get it right on password security. For the third time in a row, Apple received a perfect score and was the highest ranked site in the study.

Apple requires long, complex alphanumeric passwords, and does not accept easily hackable passwords. Several notable sites also have strong password requirements, including Boots, John Lewis, and Very.

Improving password practices would not require wholesale changes. Retailers shouldn’t be letting their security fall at the first hurdle, especially in the crucial run-up to the Christmas and January sales, Dashlane argued.

“It is extremely easy for even the most basic website to implement strong password requirements, yet some of UK’s largest online retailers are leaving their users exposed due to weak password requirements,” the firm said.

Dashlane chief exec Emmanuel Schalit explained: ”A strong password is one that is at least eight characters long, and contains letters, as well as numbers and or symbols. This complexity is what keeps hackers from easily guessing your password and accessing your account.”

Dashlane’s E-Commerce Security Roundup looked at the password security practices of the top 25 ecommerce sites used in the UK. The study comes in the aftermath of recent high-profile security breaches, such as the TalkTalk hack, and days after UK Chancellor George Osborne’s speech at GCHQ on the government’s measures to stop cyber criminals.

The roundup is Dashlane’s second major security study in the UK following a larger inaugural study in the spring of 2014. This time around Dashlane examined 25 popular ecommerce websites. Each site was analysed based upon a set of 21 criteria.

Things have improved in some categories since its initial study. For example, the number of sites that allow 10+ brute force logins decreased from 57 per cent to 40 per cent. The number of sites that accept the ten worst passwords decreased from 42 per cent to 16 per cent.

Another improvement was seen in the percentage of sites that require a letter and/or number or symbol that increased from 42 per cent to 72 per cent. Two examples of this were eBay and House of Fraser, whose scores both rose because their password requirements became stricter.

“It is encouraging to see positive password security trends in the world of ecommerce,” Schalit concluded. “Yet, while the numbers indicate retailers are moving in the right direction, much work remains."

"Given that it’s 2015, no website, regardless of how large or small it is, has an excuse for not implementing security policies that will better secure their users, as well as maintain the integrity of the brand by protecting the company from malicious attacks,” he added. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading
  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading
  • Confirmed: Broadcom, VMware agree to $61b merger
    Unless anyone out there can make a better offer. Oh, Elon?

    Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers.

    Rumors of the proposed merger emerged earlier this week, amid much speculation, but neither of the companies was prepared to comment on the deal before today, when it was disclosed that the boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously approved the agreement.

    Michael Dell and Silver Lake investors, which own just over half of the outstanding shares in VMware between both, have apparently signed support agreements to vote in favor of the transaction, so long as the VMware board continues to recommend the proposed transaction with chip designer Broadcom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022