According to an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Dashlane, nearly four in ten Americans (39%) would sacrifice sex for one year if it meant they never had to worry about being hacked, having their identity stolen, or their accounts breached. With a new hack or breach making news almost daily, people are constantly being reminded about the importance of secure passwords, yet some are still not following proper password protocol.
Additional findings from the survey include:
There’s a lot of intimate information in the cloud and online, so it’s surprising that people are still so open to sharing passwords. Consumers may think that sharing a Netflix password is harmless because their streaming preferences aren’t exactly “top secret” information. However, if part of that password aligns with an email or another password, it becomes that much easier for hackers to gain access to very personal information with grave consequences—such as compromising bank accounts.
• 45% of Americans have either trusted someone with – or been entrusted with – a password, with email (23%) and streaming services (21%) leading the list. People are most protective of passwords tied to their purse strings. The least shared passwords include those for retail accounts (14%), banking/investment/student loan accounts (9%), and insurance provider accounts (6%).
◦ Younger Americans are consistently more trusting/trusted than older Americans – 64% of millennials (aged 18-34) admit to sharing or receiving passwords (vs. 37% of those 35+).
◦ Interestingly, married Americans are less likely to say they’ve trusted someone with passwords or been entrusted with one themselves (41% vs. 49% unmarried Americans).
• Women are more likely than men to sacrifice a year of sex in exchange for online peace of mind (44% vs. 34% of men).
◦ Two in five millennials (43%) say they’d also give up sex for online security.
• Across the board, a quarter of Americans (25%) feel that sharing a social media password is more intimate than sex, yet 16% admit to sharing or receiving social media passwords.
The strongest passwords are unique and random strings of letters and numbers, but Americans are continuing to make weak password choices with easily identifiable personal information.
• When it comes to Americans’ password preferences, roughly three in 10 (31%) have used a pet’s name, while over two in 10 each have used number sequences (23%), a family member’s name (22%), or a birthday (21%).
• Nearly one in 10 each have used anniversaries (9%), sports teams (9%), addresses (9%) or phone numbers (8%).
• Men and women diverge somewhat in their password predilections:
◦ Women are more likely than men to have used pets’ (34% vs. 28%) or family members’ (26% vs. 17%) names.
◦ Men are twice as likely as women to have picked sports teams (13% vs. 6%) or included the name/initials of the account/service they’re signing into as their passwords (6% vs. 3%).
• Four percent (4%) admit to including expletives or foul language as part of their passwords – perhaps because they are so fed up with having to remember account details and logins.
Whether from time-intensive account resets, abandoned online purchases, or, worst of all, a data breach, consumers and organizations alike can suffer the consequences of password fatigue.
• Most Americans admit needing help accessing online accounts: Roughly eight in 10 (81%) have asked for assistance (hints, security questions, password resets, etc.) to access any of their accounts or apps before, and more than six in ten (62%) needed a helping hand multiple times a year. What’s more, nearly one in four (23%) people seek help at least once a month.
◦ Contrary to what some might expect, millennials indicate needing help on at least a monthly basis – more so than their older counterparts (30%, vs. 24% of those 35-44, 22% of those 45-54, 18% of those 55-64, 15% of those 65+). Though this goes against the stereotype that older Americans struggle more with technology, this could be a result of millennials having a larger digital footprint to keep track of.
• Over a third of Americans (36%) say they’ve abandoned an online transaction in the past when they couldn’t remember a password, a likely pain point for online retailers. This impact is stronger among women (40%, vs. 32% of men).
• Sex isn’t the only thing people would give up to save on cybersecurity headaches. Four in 10 people (41%) would rather give up their favorite food for a month than go through the password reset process for all their online accounts.
Having a unique password for every account ensures that even if one account is breached, other accounts will be secure. Some breaches aren’t discovered or disclosed for years, so you never know when your information might be vulnerable. According to Dashlane, the average user has over 100 accounts, so it’s practically impossible to remember every password. A password manager will do the job for you, and ensure that your accounts are always being safeguarded against unknown threats.