Users change password more regularly than administrators, survey finds

IT admins fail to abide by their own password refresh rules

Over half of IT professionals (55 per cent) make their users change their passwords more regularly than they change administrative credentials, according to a new survey.

The research, carried out by Lieberman Software, found 10 per cent never change administrative credentials at all. Meanwhile, 74 per cent change administrative passwords on only a monthly or less frequent basis.

The survey of 200 IT professionals at the recent RSA Conference also revealed that, according to 36 per cent of people, there are cases where passwords are shared among IT staff.  A further 15 per cent of respondents thought that if they left their current companies, they could still gain remote access with their admin credentials.

It was also found that 77 per cent of those questioned believe passwords are failing as an IT security method and 53 per cent think modern hacking tools could easily break passwords within their organisations.

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Nearly half (45 per cent) said that despite all the IT security technology their organisation has deployed, they are unprepared to defend against a cyber-attack.

"Administrative passwords are the most powerful credentials in an organisation the keys to the IT kingdom," said Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software. "The fact that 10 per cent of IT professionals admitted that they never change these credentials is astounding. It's almost like an open invitation to hackers to come in and stay a while.  In the meantime, the intruders are nosing their way around the network. They can anonymously help themselves to information and remain undetected until it's too late."

"Given that insider threats are one of the biggest concerns for CISOs, knowing that more than a third of IT professionals share privileged passwords is ludicrous," Lieberman continued.  "The same can be said about so many ex-employees who can still access administrative credentials. Automated privileged access management solutions can prevent these types of cyber threats related to unsecure credentials."

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