The health crisis has had many consequences on our digital hygiene. In particular, it has accelerated the explosion in the number of accounts created, potentially undermining the security of a general public who is more stingy in creating new passwords than before. The lockdown and curfews have forced many of us to turn to online sources for everything from groceries to banking and entertainment, leading to what IBM calls ‘digital addiction’ , and the need to create more online accounts than ever before.
In a new global study, conducted by Morning Consult for IBM with 22,000 participants, the technology provider examines the impact of the pandemic on consumer safety behaviors. According to this survey, security issues seem to have taken a back seat. An average of 15 new online accounts were created per person during the main phase of the pandemic, and 82% of those surveyed admitted to sometimes reusing the same passwords and credentials.
In total, 44% of respondents simply remember their passwords, while 32% write down their credentials on a paper and pencil. 18% of respondents said they use a password manager, and an additional 18% store passwords in the cloud, such as in Notes or Google Docs.
Safety takes a back seat
Billions of new accounts are therefore now active on the internet around the world, and 44% of respondents do not plan to deactivate these new accounts. A trend which, according to IBM, will give consumers “an increased digital footprint for years to come, greatly expanding the scope of attack by cybercriminals.” Additionally, the report reveals that convenience often trumps security concerns, as much of our Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is already widely available.
Over 51% of Millennials would have preferred to take the risk of using an unsecured website or app rather than going to a physical store or making a phone call to order products and services.
Many online services now require strong passwords and a relatively high level of complexity when users register. However, the passwords themselves are no longer sufficient for popular platforms and as soon as they are disclosed they can be used in phishing campaigns and bespoke social engineering attempts – as well as for hijacking. direct from accounts.
It is recommended that you consider using a password manager that can generate strong passwords on your behalf, monitor data leaks that have exposed them online, and for added security, activate the password. ‘two-factor authentication (2FA) or consider a physical key, like Yubikey, for an extra layer of protection.