World Password Day: Survey – How much of a problem is password safety?

Recently the news reported on the social app ‘Houseparty’ being hacked, with people’s details being stolen. This led to a spate of other hackings, due to user’s passwords being the same for different accounts. These events encouraged Specops Software to investigate just how serious a problem password safety is. The security experts created a survey to determine if people are conscious of their password safety and, if so, are they doing enough to keep their accounts safe in this modern world.

One of the things Specops Software singled out as a possible danger for password safety is the sharing of passwords. In fact, the survey revealed 51.61% of respondents do share their streaming site passwords (naturally, Netflix is most popular with 66.67%). A worrying statistic uncovered 21.43% don’t know whether those who they share their passwords with share with other people.

Changing Passwords

Security Experts Specops Software have outlined how important it is to regularly update your passwords, but stats show people don’t take this advice seriously, with just 3.45% of respondents changing their password twice a year. Over half of respondents either never update their passwords (37.93%), or only do it when prompted by the website (10.34%), or when they forget their original password (34.48%).

To add to the concern, following recent news of ‘Houseparty’ being hacked, only 13.79% changed their passwords in an attempt to prevent hackers accessing other accounts, while 62.07% were not worried at all about it affecting other accounts.

Password Variety

Arguably the most important factor in password safety is having a variety of passwords, to ensure if one of your accounts is compromised, hackers can’t access all your accounts.

In general terms, 29.03% of respondents answered that they didn’t use more than one password for their accounts and, of those who do use different passwords, only 22.58% create completely different passwords, with the rest answering passwords are slightly different (incorporating a similarity between passwords) and not that different (only very small changes).

However, the most worrying stat is that a shocking 31.03% of respondents use the same password for  streaming sites as they do for other accounts, such as online banking. Finally, Specops Software asked how serious respondents believe having only one password for all their accounts is, and 32.26% of those asked said they didn’t think it was that serious, and 12.9% hadn’t even considered the seriousness of it.

While this is a serious topic, it can be solved very simply by following these top tips from the experts at Specops Software.

1.       Don’t share your password with anyone.

2.       Don’t reuse your password – it only takes one account to get compromised and you’ll be in trouble everywhere.

3.       Check if your password is already breached on a trusted site like, HaveIBeenPwned, and change it.

4. Turn on multi-factor authentication in the services that offer it. This usually includes a mobile code or some other second action that is needed in addition to the password when logging on through a new device.

5.       Create strong passwords with 15 characters or more, think of three words that mean something to you but nothing to anyone else. Don’t worry about complexity but make your password long and easy to type.

Survey summary

The survey from Specops was undertaken by 1,353 people. Key findings:

  • A shocking 37.93% of people never update their passwords, and 34.48% only do so when they have forgotten the original password.
  • 31.03% of respondents said their passwords were the same for both streaming accounts and other accounts, like online banking.
  • 32.26% think having just one password is not that serious, while 12.9% admitted they’d never thought about it.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *