President Obama’s digital security leaves something to be desired. In remarks at a cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, Obama admitted he's used some passwords that are pretty easy for cyber criminals to access.
“It's just too easy for hackers to figure out usernames and passwords like ‘password’ or ‘123457,’ ” he said to laughs in the crowded auditorium. “Those are some of my previous passwords. I’ve changed them since then.”
The glib comment speaks to a deeper vulnerability about many people’s use of passwords, which are often simplistic and unoriginal. “Password” was the top password of 2014, according to security company SplashData. Second was “123456.” Those weak passwords don’t pose much of a challenge to hackers and have made it easier for them to intrude into people’s personal or corporate networks. As more and more information about people’s communications, travels and lives moves online, security experts have pushed for a move toward more secure authentication systems. The White House has made it a priority to “kill the password,” as cybersecurity coordinate Michael Daniel has repeatedly urged.
Moreover, Obama praised new technologies that companies are exploring to move away from traditional usernames and passwords as ways to prove someone is who they say they are. The administration has eyed mobile devices, digital rings and other tools to replace the password. Those types of technologies could hit the market later this year. Apple chief executive Tim Cook participated in summit and spoke on privacy matters.
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