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Mar 25, 2015 11:02 AM

New study says security problems stem from usernames


In the wake of a rash of data breaches at companies like Anthem, Target and Home Depot, a new study out of Dartmouth College is calling for a complete re-vamp of how we protect our data online.

Researchers at Dartmouth's Institute for Security, Technology, and Society, along with Manchester-based security company WWPass, say the problem is not just with your password - it's your username.

Their study, which be viewed by clicking this link, showed that hackers often get into your account by guessing your username, based on your email address, Facebook account or twitter handle. The study cites a report by Verizon from last year that says 76 percent of data breaches are the result of hackers getting access through stolen user credentials.

And what about so-called "second factor authentication"-which often asks you to click on an emailed link to confirm your identity? According to the researchers, those don't work either.

They're recommending the industry do away with usernames and passwords, and instead use methods like secure mobile apps and "token authentication," which can involve "cookies" saved on your computer.


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