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Wedded Bliss: Half of Spouses Share Passwords

Password-sharing seems almost as common in a marriage as joint bank accounts, with 52% of couples having an open-password relationship.

According to a poll from Centrify, more than half of spouses share passwords, but friends and children are trusted the least.

“It’s just as well that divorce levels are at their lowest in 40 years as over half of people share passwords with their spouse or partner,” the report noted.

The same poll found that friends and children are trusted the least with more people prepared to hand a password over to a colleague (20%) or other family member (20%) than to friends (4%) or children (4%).

Considering that a quarter of people (26%) have more than 30 passwords, but that most people (33%) can only remember between two and five, keeping track of passwords is a challenge.

“Sharing passwords may be tempting, but who knows what the future may bring,” warns Barry Scott, CTO, EMEA, Centrify. “The people who know us the best are also the ones best placed to guess our passwords, from our favorite football teams to our children’s or pets’ names, or the schools we attended. For those living with someone who may be lacking in imagination, there’s even a probability that the dreaded ‘PASSWORD’ password is in use somewhere.”

The news comes shortly after research from Manchester-based security firm Online Spy Shop found that one in 10 Britons have hacked into another person’s social media or email account for what they deem to be “honest” reasons. Excuses for so-called “ethical snooping” include: Investigating infidelity; helping someone make a surprise marriage proposal; tracking down a missing person; and being asked by a significant other to check messages.

Eli Zheleva from Portsmouth for instance used a browser vulnerability to hack her friend’s email, and reset her social media passwords to find her location after she went missing.

He added, “We didn't know where she was and she had left her phone at the house, thus we couldn't contact her, all we knew is that she'd had some alcohol to drink and then drove off, which worried us even more. She was supposed to take a flight to Bulgaria a week later and we were wondering if she'd rebooked her flight to leave earlier. We were desperate to discover her location. Thankfully she did turn up safe and well. The moral of the story is never to use the same passwords for different accounts. It was worryingly easy to get into her email account."

It should also be noted that a larger percentage, 22%, admitted trying to hack a partner’s social media or email for dishonest reasons at least once—and one in three of those guessed the right password.

“Passwords alone are no longer fit for purpose which is why the industry is starting to shift to multi-factor authentication, such as combining a password with biometrics,” Scott added. “This means that while your partner may gaze into your eyes to capture your heart, they won’t be able to get your log-in details.”

Photo © Elena Elisseeva

Password-sharing seems almost as common in a marriage as joint bank accounts, with 52% of couples having an open-password relationship.

According to a poll from Centrify, more than half of spouses share passwords, but friends and children are trusted the least.

“It’s just as well that divorce levels are at their lowest in 40 years as over half of people share passwords with their spouse or partner,” the report noted.

The same poll found that friends and children are trusted the least with more people prepared to hand a password over to a colleague (20%) or other family member (20%) than to friends (4%) or children (4%).

Considering that a quarter of people (26%) have more than 30 passwords, but that most people (33%) can only remember between two and five, keeping track of passwords is a challenge.

“Sharing passwords may be tempting, but who knows what the future may bring,” warns Barry Scott, CTO, EMEA, Centrify. “The people who know us the best are also the ones best placed to guess our passwords, from our favorite football teams to our children’s or pets’ names, or the schools we attended. For those living with someone who may be lacking in imagination, there’s even a probability that the dreaded ‘PASSWORD’ password is in use somewhere.”

The news comes shortly after research from Manchester-based security firm Online Spy Shop found that one in 10 Britons have hacked into another person’s social media or email account for what they deem to be “honest” reasons. Excuses for so-called “ethical snooping” include: Investigating infidelity; helping someone make a surprise marriage proposal; tracking down a missing person; and being asked by a significant other to check messages.

Eli Zheleva from Portsmouth for instance used a browser vulnerability to hack her friend’s email, and reset her social media passwords to find her location after she went missing.

He added, “We didn't know where she was and she had left her phone at the house, thus we couldn't contact her, all we knew is that she'd had some alcohol to drink and then drove off, which worried us even more. She was supposed to take a flight to Bulgaria a week later and we were wondering if she'd rebooked her flight to leave earlier. We were desperate to discover her location. Thankfully she did turn up safe and well. The moral of the story is never to use the same passwords for different accounts. It was worryingly easy to get into her email account."

It should also be noted that a larger percentage, 22%, admitted trying to hack a partner’s social media or email for dishonest reasons at least once—and one in three of those guessed the right password.

“Passwords alone are no longer fit for purpose which is why the industry is starting to shift to multi-factor authentication, such as combining a password with biometrics,” Scott added. “This means that while your partner may gaze into your eyes to capture your heart, they won’t be able to get your log-in details.”

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