Password security survey reveals accounts are at risk
Recently the news reported that the social app Houseparty was hacked. One of the details taken by the hackers was user account passwords. This led to a spate of other hackings, due to user passwords being the same for different accounts.
These events encouraged Specops Software to investigate the password security problem.
Specops Software created a survey to determine if people are conscious of their password practices, if so, are they doing enough to keep their accounts safe in this modern world. The survey was undertaken by 1,353 people.
One of the things Specops Software singled out as a possible danger for password safety is the sharing of passwords. In fact, the survey revealed 51.61% of respondents do share their streaming site passwords (naturally, Netflix is most popular with 66.67%). A worrying statistic uncovered 21.43% don’t know whether those who they share their passwords with share with other people.
This is not something we recommend as it’s hard to keep track of who has your passwords. Plus, you don’t know what everyone’s true intentions are. People with access could easily change your password or try and login to your other accounts.
We have outlined how important it is to regularly update your passwords, but the stats show people don’t take this advice seriously, with just 3.45% of respondents changing their password twice a year. Over half of respondents either never update their passwords (37.93%), or only do it when prompted by the website (10.34%), or when they forget their original password (34.48%).
To add to the concern, following recent news of Houseparty being hacked, only 13.79% of those asked changed their passwords in an attempt to prevent hackers accessing other accounts, while 62.07% were not worried at all about it affecting other accounts and the remaining 24.14% said they were worried, but didn’t do anything.
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Arguably the most important factor in password safety is having a variety of passwords, to ensure if one of your accounts is compromised, hackers can’t access all your accounts. This was the problem with the hacking of Houseparty and what led to lots of people’s other accounts being breached.
In general terms, 29.03% of respondents answered that they didn’t use more than one password for their accounts and, of those who do use different passwords, only 22.58% create completely different passwords, with the rest answering passwords are slightly different (incorporating a similarity between passwords) and not that different (only very small changes).
However, the most worrying stat is that a shocking 31.03% of respondents use the same password for streaming sites as they do for other accounts, such as online banking. Finally, Specops Software asked how serious respondents believe having only one password for all their accounts is, and 32.26% of those asked said they didn’t think it was that serious, and 12.9% hadn’t even considered the seriousness of it.
While this is a serious topic, it can be solved very simply by following these top tips from the experts at Specops Software.
- Don’t share your password with anyone.
- Don’t reuse your password – it only takes one account to get compromised and you’ll be in trouble everywhere.
- Check if your password is already breached on a trusted site like, HaveIBeenPwned, and change it.
- Turn on multi-factor authentication in the services that offer it. This usually includes a mobile code or some other second action that is needed in addition to the password when logging on through a new device.
- Create strong passwords with 15 characters or more, think of three words that mean something to you but nothing to anyone else. Don’t worry about complexity but make your password long and easy to type.
(Last updated on April 28, 2020)