70 percent of consumers lack confidence in passwords


When we regularly hear stories of personal details being stolen through data breaches and hacks, it's not surprising that people are losing faith in the ability of passwords to protect them.

A new report from mobile ID provider TeleSign reveals that 70 percent of consumers lack confidence that their passwords can adequately protect their online accounts. In addition, about the same amount (72 percent) are in search of additional means to secure accounts.

Commissioned by TeleSign and conducted by Lawless Research, the survey polled 2,000 consumers in the US and the UK and reveals that while concerns around online security and password strength persist, 'password fatigue' among consumers is widespread.

Not changing passwords is common, 21 percent of consumers use passwords that are over 10 years old, pre-dating the launch of Twitter, YouTube and many online banking services. Almost half (47 percent) rely on a password that hasn't been changed for five years. Password reuse is widespread too with 73 percent of online accounts using duplicated passwords and an average of just six unique passwords being used to protect 24 online accounts. This trend leaves people vulnerable to the 'domino effect' where a hacker compromises a user's password for one service and can then access all of their accounts.

On a positive note the findings show that consumers are eager to learn about online security. In fact, 72 percent would welcome advice on how they can better protect their online accounts. The majority (68 percent) would like companies to provide an extra layer of security to keep their online accounts safe. Yet in spite of this desire to learn and improve their online security, six out of 10 are still not making use of the stronger security that two-factor authentication can offer. The top reasons consumers give for not enabling 2FA are that they don't know how to set it up, don't know what it is or that companies simply don't offer it.

"The number one tip most experts give for increasing account security and stopping the fallout from data breaches is to turn on two-factor authentication," says Steve Jillings, CEO of TeleSign. "Yet our research shows that the majority of consumers (61 percent) do not know what two-factor authentication is, even though it's available on almost every account, free to the consumer and just waiting to be turned on".

In order to help with this confusion TeleSign is launching a Turn It On campaign offering guide to 2FA and providing step-by-step instructions for turning it on for popular social networking and other sites.

The full report is available to download on the TeleSign website and there's a summary of the findings in infographic format below.


Photo Credit: JMiks/Shutterstock

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