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Consumers Too Cavalier with Passwords
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 6:40 AM

Consumers continue to play it far too fast and loose with their passwords. Nearly half of Internet users admit that they have shared their passwords with others or left them out in the open for others to see, a survey from Kaspersky Lab has found.

More specifically, 33 percent of consumers shared passwords with family members, more than 10 percent shared passwords with friends, and 6 percent shared them with colleagues. Additionally, 44 percent both shared passwords and left them visible to others.

“Consumers need to be more cyber-savvy about passwords,” said David Emm, principal researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Once shared, it is very difficult to know exactly where your password will end up. Our research shows that there is a real disconnect between the understanding of why we need strong passwords and the action people take to keep them safe.”

Emm added that while no one expects friends or family to knowingly reveal a password, by sharing them, the risk that they will fall into the wrong hands still heightens.

“This could give cybercriminals easy access to personal and financial information, and hacked accounts can be used to distribute malicious links and files, harming others,” Emm added. “At worst, entire identities could be put at risk.”

Additional findings from the report:

  • Consumers believe the strongest passwords are needed for banking websites at 54 percent, followed by email accounts at 44 percent, and social media accounts at 24 percent;
     
  • Despite acknowledging that online financial transactions should require strong passwords, nearly one-third said that no further security is needed, such as additional authentication requirements; and
     
  • Nearly 40 percent used the same email for all of their email needs.