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A Hacker's Dream: American Password Reuse Runs Rampant

Americans are not very good at password hygiene, according to a study on online security habits.

The research, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that although online anxiety is rampant, password practices remain sloppy. For instance, 81% of people surveyed use the same password for more than one account. Although they’re more digitally savvy, this increases among millennials, where 92% say they use the same password across multiple accounts.

Shockingly, more than a third (36%) report they use the same password for 25% or more of their online accounts.

Nonetheless, the report found that Americans are much more likely to be concerned with their online personal information being stolen (69%) than their wallet being stolen (31%).

Thanks to the password issues, citizens of the US are feeling some pain. The survey revealed most Americans (91%) who have had an online account breach have felt the severe repercussions. These include having spam messages sent from their account (42%); account lockout (38%); or money stolen through a withdrawal or unauthorized purchase (28%). Also, about a fifth of them have had personal information stolen, such as a Social Security number or date of birth, or sensitive personal files made public, such as photos or tax records (19% each).

“It comes as no surprise that there is a direct result of users’ poor password habits and users experiencing the consequences of a breach,” said Jeff Kukowski, CEO of SecureAuth, which sponsored the survey. “We know attackers are having great success with breaches involving the misuse of stolen or weak credentials. These survey results solidify what experts in identity security know to be true: Organizations need to strengthen their security posture but also provide a seamless customer experience. It is important the security solutions employed strike the right balance. Since many consumers are not taking security into their own hands, it’s important for organizations to protect customer data, giving customers confidence that their data is being taken care of while still providing an ease of use to their service.”

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