Psychology of Passwords: Neglect is Helping Password Hackers Win

Hackers are smitten right now with the majority of the population. That’s because we make it way too easy for hackers to do what they do best – steal confidential information. And it’s often too easy for them because we don’t update our passwords or use strong enough ones.

Regardless of your age, your personality or your demographic, password hackers don’t discriminate

Millennials feel invincible

34% do not believe they are a target and therefore, don’t feel the need to put much thought into passwords.

Individuals in the UK are in denial

73% consider their passwords sufficient protection for online information.

Type A personalities want to be in control

45% of Type As have a personal “system” for creating passwords (e.g., using the name of the account plus numbers that have meaning).

France is nonchalant

34% feel the talk about password protection is overrated.

The Top 10 Reasons Hackers Love Consumers and Employees

How do hackers get our passwords? Here’s how:

1. We keep using the same passwords, again and again and again

What can we say, we’re creatures of habit. We find a password we like, and we stick with it. 59% mostly or always use the same password.

2. Our brains are oversaturated

We have enough to keep track of in our busy lives, we can’t add passwords to the list.

  • 64% say that having a password that’s easy to remember is most important.
  • Fear of forgetting login information is the number one reason for reusing passwords.

3. We treat work and personal accounts with the same indifference

That one password is good enough for work accounts, email, financial accounts, social media accounts and everything in between. 47% say there is no difference in passwords created for work and personal accounts.

4. Breaches don’t faze us

Another cyberattack reported in the news; another day. Ho hum, don’t care. 53% have not changed a password in the last 12 months after a breach in the news.

5. Oh wait, we were breached? Still not fazed

Moving on. Only 55% would change their password if their account was hacked, giving password hackers more chances to use the same password.

6. We think our Instagram posts are for friends’ eyes only

The only people who can see our posts and pictures are people we’ve chosen to follow us, right? 51% believe there is no way a hacker could guess one of their passwords from information shared on social media. Password hackers harvest social media for clues for passwords and password hints.

7. 2 in 5 (42%) keep passwords in a file on a mobile device, Word doc or Excel spreadsheet

We love a good, old-fashioned spreadsheet.

  • We have a system for keeping track of passwords and it hasn’t let us down yet.
  • 2 in 5 (42%) keep passwords in a file on a mobile device, Word doc or Excel spreadsheet.

8. We don’t think we’re hack-worthy

  • Why would a hacker be interested in us? Doesn’t he or she have bigger targets to attack?
  • 38% believe their accounts aren’t valuable enough to make them worth a hacker’s time.

9. We’re a little lazy

  • Unless IT requires us to update our passwords, we’re happy to continue using the same one.
  • 39% say if it’s not required, they never change their password.

10. We’d rather clean the house

  • Changing passwords is dull. Doing laundry is even more appealing.
  • 15% would rather do household chores than change their password.

For additional insight into common password behaviors that are helping hackers win, download the full report: The Psychology of Passwords: Neglect is Helping Hackers Win

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