Kaspersky Lab Survey Show Users’ Bad Password Habits
Internet users around the world are still to find a way to protect themselves effectively through their use of passwords. Research from Kaspersky Lab has revealed that people are putting their online safety and privacy at risk by not choosing passwords carefully enough, these simple password mistakes may have far-reaching consequences for the unknowing user.
3 common mistakes
The study has shown that there are three mistakes that are common amongst a large number of Internet users. (1) People use the same password for multiple accounts, meaning that if just one of their accounts gets hacked, they all can get hacked. (2) People use passwords that are easy and simple to crack. (3) People store their passwords in an insecure manner which defeats the point of having the password in the first place.
“Considering the amount of private and sensitive information that we store online today, people should be taking better care to protect themselves with effective password protection. These mistakes, in turn, are effectively like leaving the front door open to emails, bank accounts, personal files and more”, says Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.
The research highlighted that large numbers of people globally (almost one-in-five – 18%) have faced an account hacking attempt but many people have a password which is effective and cyber-savvy. For example, only a third (30%) of Internet users create new passwords for different online accounts and a worrying one-in-ten people use the same password for all their online accounts. Should one password be leaked, these people are therefore at risk of having every account hacked and exploited.
People are also not creating passwords that are strong enough to protect them from hacking and extortion. Only half (47%) use a combination of upper and lowercase letters in their passwords and two-in-three (64%) use a mixture of letters and numbers. That’s despite the fact that users think their online banking (51%), email (39%) and online shopping accounts (37%) need strong passwords in order for the password to be accepted.
The study also uncovered that many people are careless with their passwords by sharing them with others and using insecure methods to remember them. Almost a third (28%) has shared a password with a close family member, and one-in-ten (11%) has shared a password with friends, making it possible for passwords to be unintentionally leaked. Over one-in-five (22%) also admitted to writing their passwords down in a notepad to help remember them. Even if a password is strong, this leaves the user vulnerable because other people may see and use it.
What to do now?
Mochola continued, “People are still making simple mistakes when it comes to online passwords. The best passwords cannot be found in the dictionary. They are long, with upper and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation marks.”
Mochola empathises with internet users adding that “with people having so many online accounts today, it’s not easy to remember a secure password for everything. Using a password management solution can help people remember and generate strong passwords to minimise the risk of account hacking online.”