Half of British adults use the same password across all websites

Half of British adults use the same password across all the websites they access, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom. The data comes from a survey of 1805 adults aged 16 and up.

The report, Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013, found that 55% of adult internet users admitted they used the same password for most or all the websites they accessed. Another quarter (26%) admitted to using easy-to-remember passwords inspired by birthdays or names. Ofcom warned that such passwords leave users open to account hacking.

The insecure habits appear to be driven by the difficulty of remembering passwords for dozens of sites – with 25% of users admitting they found it difficult to do so. Awareness of security appears to be growing slowly among internet users, though. Six in ten (62%) say they protect their Wi-Fi internet connection (up from 52% in 2011) and 61% say they make judgements such as checking for padlock symbols or secure system messages before entering personal details (compared to 56% in 2011).

James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research, said: “While our research shows that some people are still taking security risks online, they clearly feel these are outweighed by the benefits that the internet brings. We are seeing more and more adults turning to the internet for information and as a way of keeping in touch.”

Further analysis by ESET experts on the challenges of creating unique, memorable passwords can be found here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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