Is Your Password a Priority? Top Takeaways From Our World Password Survey

Whether you’re signing up for a new video-streaming service, logging back into your email, or checking your online banking, passwords play a big part in our everyday lives. They help us buy what we want, stream our favorite entertainment, retrieve critical information, and most importantly, keep our personal information out of the wrong hands. But, in the modern digital world, our connected lifestyles make it so that we all have more online accounts than ever before, which means more passwords than ever. That, in turn, has created some mixed emotions towards these gatekeepers. So, to see just exactly how consumers think and feel about their passwords, and in honor of World Password Day, we conducted a survey amongst 3,000 people across Australia, France, Germany, U.K., and U.S, and discovered a few key takeaways that we’d like to share with you:

Storage Stays Old School

Consumers are living a connected lifestyle now more than ever, which means they’re downloading more apps, accessing more websites, and creating more accounts—all of which require a password. That also means consumers have to somehow keep track of more passwords.

So, with such a large amount to remember, how do people organize their passwords so that they can recall them when the time comes to log back into their account? As it turns out, our survey discovered that one of the most popular ways individuals keep track of passwords is by writing them down. Specifically, a total of 37% of respondents track the old-fashioned way, admitting to keeping a list with all of their passwords on paper, which they place somewhere they deem safe.

Another more traditional, and less secure, methodology behind storing passwords is simply reusing passwords across multiple accounts, with 34% of respondents in the U.S. admitting to doing this on a regular basis.

Luckily, using a password manager came in as the third most common storage method, with 20% claiming they do in fact use some type of management software. Password managers are the best of both worlds, since they allow us to quickly and easily access our information without having to sacrifice our personal security in the process. Plus, they make it so we don’t have jog our memory to recall one of our many passwords.

Remembering is Frustrating 

In fact, it is the act of remembering that is creating a sense of frustration for consumers, causing them to turn to these old-school storage techniques. Just how much of a pain point is remembering all these passwords? Over a quarter (26%) of individuals would be willing to give up pampering (manicures, pedicures, massages, etc.) if they never had to remember a password again. And 10% of those surveyed claimed that they would be willing to give up their favorite food in exchange for not having to remember passwords.

Access is Still More Important Than Protection

People’s need to easily and quickly access their email, social media, whatever it may be, has made personal security a low priority amongst consumers. In fact, when creating passwords, less than half (46%) of respondents claim that their main concern is security strength. Sadly, 34% are most concerned with the ease of remembering their passwords, and shockingly, 59% of respondents are open to sharing their passwords with others. The most common passwords shared were for video streaming apps with just under a quarter (23%) claiming they are comfortable sharing their password to these services.

Clearly, password security needs to become more top of mind for consumers. That’s where we can help. Whether you’re creating a new account online, or trying to remember an old password into a site, keep these security tips in mind to ensure your account information, and therefore your personal data, doesn’t get into the wrong hands:

-Create strong passwords. Passwords are the keys to our digital lives, so make sure you create strong and unique passwords to keep unwanted people out. The more complex your password is, the more difficult it will be to crack. Not to mention, make sure to avoid common and easy to crack passwords like “12345” or “password.”

-Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA). Having multiple factors to authenticate your accounts, like your fingerprint, face, or a trusted device, both improves security and makes accessing your online accounts easier. If you use a service that offers MFA, be sure to enable it. The more factors you can combine, the safer your accounts will be.

-Use a password manager. Take your security to another level with a password manager, like the True Key app.  A password manager can help you create strong and secure passwords, remove the hassle of remembering numerous passwords and log you into your favorite websites automatically using multi-factor authentication.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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