Storing passwords in mobile contact list or notes unsafe
The government is the biggest data fiduciary in the country as it controls the personal data of citizens starting from Aadhaar data to census data. Representative pic

Storing passwords in mobile contact list or notes? It’s not safe, says report

Do you save your bank, ATM, debit/credit card passwords in your mobile contact list or mobile notes? If yes, you have 17% of Indians for company but you may be more vulnerable to financial frauds than you may imagine, says a survey report.

Around 17% of the 11,236 people surveyed in this category said they store such important financial passwords in their smartphone contact list or mobile notes, the report revealed on Wednesday (April 12).

The survey was conducted by online community platform LocalCircles. According to the report, 30% of the respondents share financial passwords with friends, family, and employees, while 88% have shared their Aadhaar for applications, proof, and bookings.

24% store passwords on mobile

According to the report, 8% of respondents said they store sensitive information in mobile phone notes while 9% in the mobile contact list. Around 2% said they save sensitive data in the password app in their phones. As many as 24% said they use their mobile phone to store important passwords.

Also read: 123456, qwerty: Indians continue to use easily hackable internet passwords

While 14% said they had “memorised” their passwords, 18% said they had stored the details on their computer or laptop, while 39% said they have important personal data stored in “another place/way”.

The survey covered over 32,000 citizens across 337 districts of India, with 65% being men and 35% women. While 43% of respondents were from tier 1 cities, 36% were from tier 2 cities, and 27% were from tier 3 and 4 cities and rural districts.

Why it’s unsafe

Storing sensitive data on the contact list is unsafe since many apps seek access to it. Mobile phone notes are also not secure. Besides, with reports of artificial intelligence (AI) being able to crack over 50% passwords in one minute, many are vulnerable to financial frauds and risk losing sensitive data.

“With databases that can be joined easily and reports indicating that AI can crack over 50 per cent passwords in under one minute, the average Indian is likely to be increasingly vulnerable,” the report said.

Also read: Over 1 crore mobile numbers linked with Aadhaar in Feb: UIDAI

Of the respondents, 67% revealed that they have not shared details of their ATM PINs, debit/credit card numbers with anyone, while 3% gave no clear response. However, 30% respondents trust their family and friends with their debit/credit card details.

42% faced financial fraud

The LocalCircles survey also asked the respondents which document(s) they had submitted for applications, identity and proof, and hotels other bookings in the past five years. Most of the 10,650 respondents selected multiple options. As many as 88% of respondents said Aadhaar, 58% said PAN card, 47% said driving licence, 42% said passport, 35% said voter ID card, and 9% said others.

As many as 42% of the citizens surveyed faced some kind of financial fraud between June 2019 and June 2022, the survey found. Of them, 74% failed to get their money back.

Some people said they use passwords that are easy to remember, others said they have one complex password for all their accounts. However, neither option is recommended since criminals can easily to steal your credentials, the report said.

Also read: Don’t use apps that demand login details, Facebook warns users

One option to create strong passwords is to download a password manager software. You can also store those passwords in a digital vault protected by a single master password and retrieve them as and when needed while logging into your accounts. However, it is a paid app involving monthly fees.

(With agency inputs)

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