However, health care is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the number of devices that have alphanumeric or complex pass codes on them (4 percent). The public sector had the highest number of mobile devices with alphanumeric or complex passwords (18 percent) and education the lowest (1 percent).
Fiberlink's Dale said he was surprised that financial services ranked near the bottom of the table of industries that required its mobile devices to use pass codes. A trend in the industry may have affected that number, he hypothesized.
"Organizations are starting to enforce pass codes only for corporate data and not device data," Dale said. "Companies are putting more restrictive pass codes and permissions around the corporate data on a device and not caring about the pass codes on the device level."
"Let's face it, IT doesn't care about you getting into your phone to text and tweet," he said. "Since our analysis only looked at pass codes used to access a device, that trend wouldn't show up in our data."
With all the flack passwords have received as an authentication method, some commentators have predicted their demise.
Silber's Carey isn't one of those doomsayers. "I'm not sure that anytime soon there's going to be a complete alternative to passwords," he said. "There might some complements to passwords but not necessarily alternatives."
"There have been alternatives for awhile," Carey said. "But none of them seems to have caught on. I think there is a need for passwords and there will always be a need for passwords."
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