People Would Trade Sex for Security

Who says romance is dead?

Dashlane, the password management company, that’s who: Nearly 40% of Americans said they would give up sex for a year if it meant never having to worry about being hacked. And, women are more likely than men to sacrifice a year of sex in exchange for online peace of mind (44% vs. 34% of men).


And despite concern from certain corners about hyper-sexualized pop culture and Millennials, younger people are on board with this too: Two in five people aged 18 to 34 (43%) say they’d also give up sex for online security.

Sure, I understand that plenty of people put the value of their digital lives as “priceless”—but is celibacy the right trade-off to protect them?

Well let’s talk about “sec,” baby. Dashlane says a more rational tack might be using better password tactics. As in, stepping away from “123456” and your pet’s name as the default go-to options. Imagine that—you don’t have to give up sex after all!! You’re welcome.

“The nature of online security has changed dramatically,” explained Emmanuel Schalit, CEO of Dashlane. “Five to 10 years ago, cybersecurity was about protecting devices with antivirus software. Today, data isn’t on our devices, but in the cloud—and the best line of defense we have to protect this data are passwords.”

All too often though, consumers just don’t bother. And in fact, bad password practices are kind of the antibiotic-resistant syphilis of the cyber-world. They just won’t go away. A full 45% of Americans admit that they've either shared or been given a password, with email (23%) and streaming services (21%) leading the list.

Some of this could be linked to the idea of trading in actual human connection for digital interactions: Across the board, a quarter of Americans (25%) feel that sharing a social media password is more intimate than sex.

Interestingly, married Americans are less likely to say they’ve trusted someone with passwords or been entrusted with one themselves. So I have to ask: If password-sharing has become a stand-in for sex, what does that say about the state of intimacy in the American marriage??

In any event, when it comes to Americans’ password preferences, roughly three in 10 (31%) have used a pet’s name, while over two in 10 each have used number sequences (23%), a family member’s name (22%), or a birthday (21%). Nearly one in 10 each have used anniversaries (9%), sports teams (9%), addresses (9%) or phone numbers (8%). All of this info is easily gleaned from public and social media sources.

“This survey data continues to highlight an unfortunate trend—even with breaches happening to everyone from companies and celebrities to consumers, people are continuing to engage in risky password behavior,” said Schalit.

In certain circumstances, people do tend to use digital condoms, as I now like to think of unique passwords made up of random strings of letters and numbers (thanks for that, Dashlane). And that’s when it’s tied to their purse strings. The least-shared passwords include those for retail accounts (14%), banking/investment/student loan accounts (9%), and insurance provider accounts (6%).

So implementing safe password practices is generally a way to avoid being hacked. But sure—if being the “master of your domain” sounds better, go for it.

Photo © Ai825

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