Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Jun 14 2011   12:56PM GMT

IT security starts in your pocket

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

My friends sometimes tease me about having to enter a passcode just to play games on my iPhone. But the truth is, Angry Birds isn’t the only thing hanging out on my home screen, so I need to be extra careful with who can access that information. Granted, a measly little four-digit passcode won’t stop even most amateur hackers, but it can buy a little time for me to report my phone missing or to wipe the sensitive information from my phone.

I was vindicated yesterday when Daniel Amitay, an Apple iPhone developer, published his research into passcode security. Amitay pays homage to past articles about the most common passwords on the Internet, creating a list of the ten most common iPhone passcodes. Here they are, in all their glory, from Amitay’s blog:

Chart from Daniel Amitay's blog.

The data used in the research comes from 204,000 passcodes used by anonymous users to secure the Big Brother Camera Security application developed by Amitay, who presumes that most users don’t go to the lengths of coming up with and memorizing a different passcode than used for their iPhone. Translated loosely, this means about 15% of employees at your company are most likely using light passwords. How can you battle bad habits from seeping into the enterprise security?

Ken Harthun at the Security Corner blog outlines the way the password paradigm is shifting, offering realistic ways to update your passwords without being bogged down by complexities. Security can’t just be a concern for the security professional; whether you’re dealing with the CTO or the summer intern, offering manageable ways to deal with password security in the enterprise can only make your job easier.

Whether you have a smartphone, a tablet, an ATM card, or a laptop, if you’re currently using one of those four digit magic numbers in that chart up there, coming up with a better password should be on your to-do list. Sophos blogger Graham Clulely suggests taking advantage of the passphrase option in your phone’s security settings. Cluley closes on this final thought: “What’s the 4 digit PIN you use at the bank’s ATM cash machine?” For a brief period of time, I was using the same pin numbers for my phone and my debit card (I know, I know). I have since changed it, especially after reading about security breaches day after day. Besides, when I realized that my seven-year-old niece had memorized my passcode to get into my phone and play games, I knew it was time.

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

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