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Consumers create poor passwords despite knowing it's risky

Ah, the stubborn consumers, we never seem to learn. Despite all the talk, all the warnings and all the data breaches that are this close to becoming business and usual, we can’t seem to shake off bad password habits.  

This is according to a new survey by LastPass, which polled consumers in the UK, US, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia.  Stating ‘you know it’s bad, but you do it anyway’, the report concludes the following: Almost everyone (95 per cent) understand the benefits of a strong password, yet 47 per cent use their initials, friends or family names, while 42 per cent use significant dates and numbers (for example, birthdays). 

A quarter (26 per cent) use their pet’s names – all easily acquirable data.  More than nine in ten (91 per cent) are aware of risks when reusing old passwords, yet 61 per cent are doing it. Less than a third (29 per cent) are changing their passwords for security reasons – the majority do it simply because they forgot the old one.  Financial accounts take priority over retail, social media and entertainment, yet more than a third (39 per cent) are creating more secure passwords for personal accounts rather than work accounts.  

“Developing poor password habits is a universal problem affecting users of any age, gender or personality type,” says Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass.  

“Most users admit to understanding the risks but continue to repeat the behaviour despite knowing they’re leaving sensitive information vulnerable to potential hackers. In order to establish more effective defences, we need to better understand why individuals act a certain way online and a system that makes it easier for the average user to better manage their password behaviour.”    

Image Credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr