Americans Neglect Basic Password Hygiene Despite Cyberattack Fears

Americans Neglect Basic Password Hygiene Despite Cyberattack Fears

By Greg Tavarez

Passwords are an important layer of security for just about every account, from gaming and streaming services to banking and health information – and of course, you business network and resources. But, as some might have learned the hard way, password strength and hygiene are often not up to par, putting accounts and data as risk of being hacked, compromising personal and corporate data.

Stolen information ranges from email addresses, physical addresses and phone numbers, banking and credit card details to any other information and data hackers might find when password security isn’t taken  seriously enough.

Sure, seven in 10 Americans would be concerned if they were hacked, according to a Keeper Security study, but 55% have been a victim of a cyberattack at least once. This shows that the awareness is there, but basic password hygiene is ignored. Victims have lost $378 on average per attack.

Some common password habits reported in Keeper Security’s “2022 U.S. Password Practices Report” include consumers reusing passwords across multiple accounts and platforms, and  using pets' names and birth dates as passwords. Additionally, about 20% of consumers only change a password when notified, although they are encouraged to change passwords frequently and regularly.

This should be of huge concern for consumers as these are common password practices that bad actors in cyberattacks notice and exploit because the passwords are used from publicly available information. As a result, consumers raise the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack and, in fact, 14% have had their bank account details stolen.

"This new research shows consumers struggle to keep their passwords securely protected and fear the repercussions of a cyberattack," said Darren Guccione, CEO, and co-founder of Keeper Security. 

Practices users should utilize often to keep their accounts safe include changing passwords more regularly. Only 11% of respondents change passwords monthly, but changing them often, at least once every three months, will reduce risk, especially if the company the account is tied to goes through a security breach.

Other security methods are password locks or PINs and multi-factor authentication. Yes, these do take a few extra seconds to access an account and can be difficult at first, but the extra security should be welcomed. If an attempt was failed using one of these two security methods, there is often a feature that will alert the account owner of the failed attempt, prompting them to act.

It is easy to neglect passwords, but cyberattacks continue to rise, so it is important for consumers to be more vigilant. Potential losses from cybercrime cost Americans nearly $7 billion according to the FBI’s “2021 Internet Crime Report.” Avoid becoming a cybercrime victim with better password awareness and implement other methods such as a password manager or MFA to heighten that security wall.

These same principles apply to corporate networks, too. If users are not following good password practices with their personal accounts, it’s not likely they are doing it with their business accounts.

Edited by Erik Linask
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MSPToday Editor

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