Consumers urged to change password often

Stabroek News
October 3, 2000

Internet users are being advised to guard against "Password Piracy" which is becoming more prevalent, according to some members of the cyber community.

Password piracy can be defined as when individuals use a company's or residential consumer's log-on name and password to access an internet service provider (ISP) from another site. The unsuspecting company or consumer is therefore billed for minutes on line that it did not use. The pirates could then possibly gain access to company or personal files. Companies have been presented with monthly bills that show usage times in the wee hours of the morning when their operations are closed.

Raymond Shaw of I-Net said this was becoming a problem with more and more persons and companies logging onto the internet. For companies there was a tendency to give out passwords freely to employees who could then go home and log on without paying. Equally parents give out passwords to their children and they in turn might go to school and share passwords. Shaw said there was a simple way of avoiding the problem. Don't give out your password and if you have to, change it frequently. If that did not work Shaw recommended his I-Net system which could only be accessed from a specific site and bypasses ISPs and the telephone system, giving download speeds comparable with North America.

Customers using Solutions 2000 and GuyanaNet are said to be most affected. InternetWorks has a security feature where only one user with his or her password can log on at any one time. Solutions is said to be aware of the problem and has instituted a system where consumers can change their passwords on line.

But Shaw questioned the wisdom of such a system as pirates could change the password and log out the legitimate customer.

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