The statistics are both shocking and dismaying. Even in the face of innumerable high profile data breaches, people still aren’t serious about personal data security. In fact, a shocking 95% of people admit to sharing between one and six passwords with friends.
Most of these seem innocuous. After all, it’s not too much of a stretch to envision sharing your WiFi password with a friend who drops by and wants to get on the internet using his or her smart device. If you’ve got a Netflix or other video streaming account, odds are good that you’ve occasionally shared that password too.
While those examples seem harmless, when you combine that 95% statistic with the fact that more than 50% of survey respondents also indicated that they use the same password for multiple accounts, you begin to see the problem. What if, for example, your bank account password is the same as your Netflix account password? In that case, your seemingly innocuous password sharing has just exposed your financial data, and could come back to haunt you in ways you never imagined.
This is not a new problem. What’s unfortunate about these findings is that no one seems to be learning the hard lessons that the hacking community has been teaching us over the last several years. Data security matters, and it starts with you and your passwords. Treating them lightly, sharing them without much in the way of thought for the potential consequences, and failing to take even the most basic password precautions are precursors to much larger and more financially painful problems.
It is possible to secure your data, and to see to it that your risks are minimized. To do that, however, we’re going to need to see a fundamental shift in the way people view and treat their passwords. So far, that’s just not happening, and it needs to. Soon.