If your password to your email account and Facebook are the same, then you could be in trouble. A recent study found that 6 of 10 computer users reuse passwords across accounts, leaving their systems critically vulnerable to attack.
The study was performed by US fraud-detection agency CSID. It involved 1200 participants. According to the study, 54% of respondents had five different passwords or fewer. In other words, people generally use the same passwords for Facebook, Twitter, email, and other accounts. This might seem like a convenient thing to do, but it’s incredibly dangerous in a world where more and more companies are being attacked by hackers on a daily basis.
Interestingly enough, computer users under 24 years of age were the most reckless with their passwords. Although these users have grown up entirely in a world dominated by computers, they apparently haven’t learned the basics of PC security.
21% of users have had their accounts compromised
Why is keeping different passwords so important? One conclusion reached by the CSID study was that 21% of users have had their accounts compromised at some point in their life. If one of your accounts is compromised, then it won’t take long for the hackers to test out your other accounts to see if they share the same password.
Let’s say you signed up for an account for some random company’s website. You might never think about that account again. However, six months from now, that company experiences a serious data leak and all of its account information is stolen (attacks like this happen every day). A hacker now has access to your password and email address. He can use that information to attempt to login to your bank account, Facebook, and any other accounts that you may use.
Put simply, if you use the same password across all accounts, then you’re setting yourself up for identity theft. Don’t risk it. Create unique passwords for all of your most important accounts, and then keep that password information in a secure location.