LastPass Study: The Psychology Of Passwords

Insecure Password Behavior Despite Security Awareness And Increased Internet Usage

For digital natives, passwords have become indispensable in the course of IT security. Because the number of user accounts grows with the digitization of everyday life and the workplace. Remembering so many passwords and keeping an overview is overwhelming for many people. In addition, a strong password is long and complicated. As a result, many users still use the same password for different accounts or use easy-to-remember words and number combinations.

Bad Password Usage Despite Increased Online Time

Around 65 percent of those surveyed worldwide in the latest report “Psychology of Passwords” by LastPass stated that they used the same password for different accounts. This significantly increases the risk of sensitive data, and many users are even aware of it. 92 percent said that they knew the security risk of using the same password or modification. For convenience, they do not change this behaviour and keep the routine of using the same passwords.

Due to the pandemic, many people need new user accounts, for example, to work remotely. Nine out of ten respondents said they had set up at least one other user account this year. 90 percent confirmed that they have up to 50 different online accounts and apps. As a result, most users adopt their passwords unchanged for a new version, making them insecure. 79 percent of those surveyed confirm that they find compromised log-in data to be a cause for concern.

Nevertheless, every second person relies on their memory to remember all passwords. In these cases, the passwords often consist of personal data and combinations of birthdays and names. However, this information is usually also available to the public via profiles on social networks. Thus the data would be easy to find, even for a hacker. And that is precisely what makes the accounts vulnerable. In addition, 45 percent of respondents said they had not changed their passwords in the last year, even if there was a data breach.

Increasing Hacking Attacks Make Reliable Authentication Essential

In the past year, the majority of people spent a great deal of time at home. Contacts to friends and family but also work were done online. Whether private or business video conferences, constant availability via laptop or smartphone or social media use – 70 percent said, they held personal conversations online during the pandemic. As a result, the number of cyberattacks is increasing. That is why reliable online security measures are becoming more and more critical.

Since 71 percent of those surveyed work entirely or partially remotely, it is essential for companies and employees to avoid insecure password behavior. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2021 , 85 percent of data breaches are caused by a human error caused by phishing attacks. Few users worry if hackers have captured their passwords. 83 percent of the survey participants do not know whether their data can be viewed on the dark web. This ignorance illustrates many blind spots in password management.

Knowledge Of Risks Does Not Always Lead To Changes In Behaviour

Despite our digital life and the associated risk of being hacked, almost 47 percent of users have not changed their security measures – not even in the home office. Employees can continue to share confidential information and passwords with colleagues who are on the move. Almost half of the employees display questionable password behavior, which can be dangerous for companies. This is a significant problem for IT administrators in particular, as they have to protect the security of the company network and resources. Companies are faced with making their employees more aware of the issue and improving their password handling.

Even consumers do not protect all of their user accounts with the same security standard. For example, they assign more complicated passwords to some reports and known names, dates and sequences of numbers are used for others. The insecure practice of password reuse is also often used. This means that several user accounts have the same password. Although 68 percent of respondents would create solid passwords for financial statements, only 32 percent said they would make an equally strong password for work-related accounts. This careless handling of data leads to a high-security risk for employees and employers.

Digital Life Requires A Higher Level Of Security

People are spending more and more time on the Internet, which means new user accounts – from streaming services to commercial cloud applications. This behavior affects password security, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Therefore, every user has to protect their online information better. One way is to use a password manager to store personal and digital data securely. With the help of an additional level of security – such as multi-factor authentication or single sign-on options – it is possible to ensure that only authorized persons can access the data.

Also Read: Email Security: Attacks Have A Huge Impact On Business Operations

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