More Men than Women Fall Victim to Cybercrime

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New research has found that more men than women fall victim to cybercrime and it could have something to do with password practices.

study published April 29 by password manager NordPass found that women are more likely to use unique passwords. The more cybersecurity-savvy sex was also found to be less likely to fall victim to cybercrime. 

Researchers have posited that the two findings may be linked, as using unique passwords for each online account reduces the risk of multiple accounts' being hacked in a single cyber-attack.   

NordPass researchers were taken aback by what their survey of 700 people from the UK and 700 people from the US revealed.   

"We were surprised," a NordPass spokesperson told Infosecurity Magazine. "We didn’t expect there to be a difference in genders and their usage of unique passwords."

The survey found that 43% of women always use a unique password for online store accounts, 57% for banks and other financial institutions, 50% for personal email, and 38% for communication apps. In comparison, only 36% of men use unique passwords for online stores, 50% for banks and other financial accounts, 42% for personal email, and 31% for communication apps. 

"We can speculate that women are more concerned when it comes to security online," wrote researchers. "We think that women are more concerned about the sensitive information these accounts store."

Men's comparatively lax attitude to cybersecurity could make them easier targets for cyber-criminals. Of the 22% of survey participants who had become a victim of cybercrime, 54% identified as men. 

Bizarrely, the study showed that while victims of cybercrime "are more often concerned about the harm of their email, forums or entertainment, communication, health app accounts getting hacked," they "do not secure their accounts with unique passwords more often than those who haven’t experienced cybercrime."

The stress of remembering multiple passwords could be driving some users to reuse one or two that they have memorized. Researchers found that 30% of people surveyed thought that resetting and coping with passwords is as stressful as retiring. 

Asked how many of the respondents had actually retired before taking part in the survey, researchers said "about 20% of the 700 US respondents (so about 140) had already retired." No information was given as to how many of the 700 UK respondents had retired before participating in the survey.

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