Everyone Made More Online Accounts in 2020, Creating New Password Reuse Pitfalls
COVID-19 kept millions of people home for weeks and sometimes months last year, encouraging reliance on more online services. People shopped online, saw their doctors online, met up with friends online and more as pandemic lockdowns forced folks to find new ways to get things done. While a rising need for these services to be available spurred a rapid transition to people doing more things online, it also spurred those people into creating a whole new galaxy of online accounts. Each of those accounts required its own password – and that spawned password reuse problems that will resonate into the future.
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More Accounts Created More Danger
In a new global study conducted by Morning Consult for IBM, the technology vendor examined the impact of the pandemic on consumer security behaviors. As everyone signed up for account after account, people just got tired of trying to think up new passwords. People worldwide created an average of 15 new online accounts per person during the main thrust of the pandemic. That’s a lot of new passwords to create and remember. It also means that many more passwords were recycled or reused in 2020 than in past years making password exposure through cybercrime a strong possibility. As people created all of those new accounts, coming up with a new, strong password usually wasn’t a priority – 82% of those surveyed admitted that they had regularly reused the same passwords and credentials.
That’s a problem for every business. Rampant password reuse and recycling is a bane for IT teams because it creates risk unnecessarily and they’ve already got more than enough to worry about. More than 80% of damaging incidents are caused by password disasters. A huge part of keeping your important business information and sensitive files safe is making good, strong passwords and reinforcing them with powerful security tools to protect them from hackers. Unfortunately, 42% of respondents in a cybercrime survey said that their organization had been compromised because of a bad, stolen, reused or cracked password in 2020, making stamping out reuse and recycling a major priority for everyone.
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Data Clearly Shows the Scope of the Problem
Microsoft has also put its resources to work to get to the bottom of the password dilemma, and they discovered a few very important things to keep in mind when considering password problems.
- 44 million of its users had used the same password on more than one account
- 91% of participants said that they understood the risk of password reuse but 59% admitted to doing it anyway
- 72 % of people reuse work passwords for their personal accounts
- 42% of organizations rely on sticky notes for password management
- 32 % admitted to using a list of work passwords written on paper or kept in a text document
So how are people generating these unsafe passwords? By using often byzantine rubrics that they came up with themselves using personal information like names and birthdates. The pandemic-induced blurring of the line between personal and business accounts compounds the danger of password compromise for the companies that employ them. even more dangerously, they’re sharing those passwords with friends and family. Over 30% of respondents in Microsoft’s survey admitted that their organization had experienced a cybersecurity incident as a result of compromised user credentials that had been shared with people outside their companies.
- 22% of employees surveyed have shared their email password for a streaming site
- 17 % of employees surveyed have shared their email password for a social media platform
- 17 % of employees surveyed have shared their email password for an online shopping account
- 43% of survey respondents have shared their password with someone in their home
- See more about exactly how people make the bad passwords that they’re using everywhere.
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How Can Businesses Be Secured Against Password Compromise?
By far the fastest, easiest and most effective way to mitigate password reuse problems and immediately improve an organization’s password security immediately is by adopting a dynamic secure identity and access management tool that gets the job done at a great price like Passly.
- Multifactor Authentication (MFA) – This feature alone can stop up to 99% of cyberattacks cold. Take the power out of a compromised password by requiring another identifying token for access to systems and data, with many choices for token delivery to fit your business. Plus, MFA gives you protection against phishing attacks too, because the password that was just phished from one of your staffers isn’t going to let cybercriminals in either.
- Single Sign-On LaunchPads (SSO) – Give each user their own, personalized launchpad that leads them to everything that they need. When your staffers only need to remember one password to access all of the applications that they use every day, they’re happy. When your IT teams only have to manage permissions and access point security through a limited number of defensible points, they’re happy too.
- Simple, Cost-Effective Remote Workforce Provisioning – Passly gives your IT team everything that they need to for secure identity and access management in office and remotely. Seamless integration with more than 1,000 business applications and secure shared password vaults for team access makes adjusting permissions a snap. Plus, your team can act quickly to isolate a compromised account in case of trouble.
Don’t wait until password reuse becomes your organization’s problem. Contact the experts at ID Agent to learn how Passly can benefit your clients and your business.
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