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Cognitive Dissonance: Americans worry about their online security – while continuing to practice poor password hygiene

August 03, 2017

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It’s 2017, and data breaches are occurring at a record pace. It’s no wonder, then, that Americans are becoming increasingly anxious about their online security. Our recent report with Wakefield Research says Americans are much more likely to be concerned with their online personal information being stolen (69 percent) than their wallet being stolen (31 percent).

However, consumers are skipping over basic measures that could increase their internet safety. Our survey found that 81 percent of Americans use the same password for at least two of their online accounts. That is a fundamental no-no.

It stands to reason, then, that 9 out of 10 people surveyed have felt the severe repercussions of a data breach – including spam being sent from an account; an account lockout; money stolen through an unauthorized withdrawal or purchase; Social Security number, date of birth, or other personal information being stolen; or sensitive personal files – think photos or tax records – made public.

Although consumers consistently make themselves vulnerable by reusing the same password, a majority (86 percent) say they would use two-factor authentication (2FA) if an online account made the option available. However, 2FA tends to cause user disruptions to routines with continued authentication demands. What’s more, many of the recent high-profile breaches, including incidents at Yahoo, LinkedIn and OneLogin, had multi-factor authentication methods in place. Attackers were still able to circumvent the system and gain access to people’s personal information.

If consumers can take one thing away from this report, it’s that it is in their best interest to clean up their password habits. Varying passwords across different could save them from potential harmful cyberattacks.

There’s also a big takeaway for organizations: Consumers clearly aren’t taking security into their own hands. That means organizations need to protect customer data – all while providing an ease of use for their customers. At their fingertips are key adaptive access control methods and identity-based detection techniques like geo location, device recognition, phone number fraud prevention, and others. These tools work invisibly to the user, therefore providing a positive customer experience all while strengthening security.

It’s a tough balance to strike, but it can be achieved with SecureAuth. What exactly will a consumer tolerate in terms of inconvenience before getting frustrated and taking the easy way out on security? But it’s crucial to get right as cyber attacks continue to grow. Learn how you can raise security without raising disruptions here.

Read our press release on a recent survey about password practices here.

See the infographic on password habits here.

To learn more how SecureAuth helps prevent the misuse of stolen credentials, or for a personalized demo, contact us today!


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