The technological advancements of today’s modern world are rapidly evolving minute by minute. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the way we create, manage and use passwords to keep our online accounts secure. Many consumers today are unaware of just how critical passwords are to protecting ourselves online, and the consequences can be costly.
We all use passwords to keep some of our most important and confidential information safe, and for many online systems, a password is the only thing standing between your personal data and a hacker trying to compromise it. You would think this would cause us to take our password habits more seriously, but for most of us that’s not the case—did you know that 80% of hacking-related breaches are caused by stolen and reused credentials?
Weak passwords and poor password management habits are constantly being exploited by cybercriminals and hackers across the globe. Take a look at some statistics that shed light on the detrimental impact that poor password hygiene can cause:
- 4 in 10 Americans have had their personal data compromised online.
- Of the 40% of Americans who have had their personal data compromised online, 47% lost money as a result.
- Only 45% of Americans say they would change their password after being hacked.
- The total cost of a data breach in America was $8.64 million in 2020.
- 80% of hacking-related data breaches are linked to passwords.
- Brute-force hacking tools are sold on criminal marketplaces for just $4 on average.
- There has been a 24% increase in the number of data breaches caused by malicious attacks since 2014.
- 16% of malicious data breaches in 2020 were caused by a vulnerability in third-party software.
- 53% of malicious data breaches were financially motivated in 2020.
- 14% of malicious data breaches in 2020 were caused by phishing.
Clearly, failing to take password best practices seriously doesn’t end well for many consumers, and stands to increase our vulnerability to data loss, identity theft, and financial losses. Unfortunately, many of us are still managing our passwords in a way that significantly reduces our online security. Here’s a closer look at the data on just how widespread our poor password habits are:
- 24% of Americans have used the word “password,” “Qwerty” or “123456” as their password.
- 43% of Americans have shared their password with someone.
- Only 37% of Americans used two-factor authentication to secure their passwords in 2020.
- 66% of Americans use the same password across multiple online accounts.
- Only 34% of Americans say they change their passwords regularly.
- While 79% of Americans said keeping their security software up to date is very important, 33% don’t update theirs regularly.
- 27% of Americans have tried to guess someone else’s password, and 17% of them were able to guess correctly.
- 42% of organizations rely on sticky notes for password management.
- 59% of organizations rely on human memory to manage passwords
- 62% of organizations say they don’t take the necessary steps in properly securing mobile data.
These statistics show that for all the advancements we’ve amassed in the online word, our password habits have hardly changed. To increase our defenses against online hackers compromising our online accounts, a simple shift in how we manage our passwords is essential. You might be wondering what steps you can take to increase your online security and keep your social media accounts and other personal data online safe.
Luckily, proper password management isn’t all that complicated. Following just the basics of better password hygiene can have a significant impact on reducing your vulnerability to your account being hacked online. To increase your protection and reduce the chances of falling victim to your social accounts being compromised, there are few best practices you can start implementing today:
- Use a combination of numbers, letters, punctuation, and capitalization when creating a password.
- Choose a password that is at least 12 characters long.
- Include random, unrelated words in your password.
- Don’t use phrases from popular songs, movies, or TV shows in your passwords.
- Never reuse your passwords across different accounts or devices, no matter how strong it may be.
- Never include personal information in your passwords.
- Don’t rely on your memory to keep track of your passwords. Use a password manager instead.
Cybercriminals are only growing more sophisticated in their methods of hacking and gaining access to private information. Now is the time to reevaluate the strength of your passwords and start correcting any areas of weakness that may exist in how you manage them. This is especially true when it comes to your social media accounts, as social media is an appealing target for hackers. If you’re looking for a deep dive on how you can level up your online security and improve your password hygiene, this infographic by Panda Security walks you through all you need to know.
It doesn’t take much to significantly increase the security of your social media accounts and other personal data online. Make sure you follow these password guidelines to keep yourself safe and avoid the consequences of your account being compromised.