Research has shown what we have always suspected – people claim to take online security seriously, but in reality, most of us are failing badly, and falling into bad, and potentially dangerous, habits.
The study by the Identity Theft Resource Center shows that just 15% of us have separate passwords for unique accounts, relying far too heavily on simply repeating the same credentials to avoid having to remember multiple passwords.
While there's no doubt that being active online means juggling many passwords, tools such as password managers can hugely reduce the stress of remembering them all.
Poor Password Practices Revealed
The study, carried out by the Identity Theft Resource Center, unveils the ugly truth about our passwords, and the lackadaisical approach that many of us take to online security.
It reveals that only 15% of us are using unique passwords for different accounts, with far too many of us instead relying on old favorites to log into websites, severely jeopardising our online safety. The main reason for this? 52% of people said that remembering passwords was too difficult.
What's more, only 8% of respondents said that they guard their passwords to prevent identity theft and fraud. 50% stated that they were more protective of their social security number, despite the fact that some online credentials are much more desirable to criminal, and can command around $80, while social security numbers are only worth around $2.
What's perhaps more shocking is that 73% say personal information has been impacted by a data breach, and yet still only 15% of us are ensuring that our passwords are unique!
Why Reusing the Same Password is a Bad Idea
With the average person having around 100 passwords to remember, it's perhaps no surprise that so many of us are instead just choosing to re-use the same ones across multiple sites. However, it's a monumentally bad idea.
When there's a password breach, user details are shared or sold among criminals, and your credentials can easily fall into the hands of someone whose only intention is to use them to steal as much money, or data, from you as possible. However, should a site you use experience a breach, criminals won't stop at trying to access that one particular site – they'll also try your password on other services too – online stores, social media, email accounts, even bank accounts.
You can probably see where this is going – if you use the same password across multiple sites, it means that should one site experience a data breach and your details get out there, criminals will essential have access to your entire online life.
If you want to see if you've already been the victim of a breach in the past, you can use a site like haveibeenpwnd.com, to check your details.
Password Managers to the Rescue
So, what's the answer to these password woes? Regular Tech.co readers probably already know, and yes, it's password managers. We really can't sing the praises of these little tools enough. Not only do they help you keep track of your passwords, they can even generate them for you (with highly secure suggestions, no more using your pet's name).
Some password managers also monitor the web and alert you should your data be subject to a breach, enabling you to change your credentials, before criminals can act.
Password managers cost a few bucks a month, which we think is more than worth it for the peace of mind that you'll get from no longer needing to remember 100 passwords.
We've reviewed some of the best password managers available. You can see the best rated in the table below:
Local Storage Option
Password Generator Function
A password manager can create secure, complex passwords for you. You won't need to remember them yourself.
Live Chat Support
Overall cost per year for a single user.
Cheapest available business plan
Click to Try
BEST ON TEST
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Click to return to top of page