One in six adults use the name of a pet as the basis of their password, according to a new survey commissioned by Google. Two-thirds of adults use the name of a partner – and half of adults admit to writing down passwords to help remember them.
The word “password” also remained popular – with 3% of users still employing it.
One in ten of those who answered the British survey claimed to have been able to guess a colleague’s password in order to access their computer – possibly helped by the fact that 3% of those surveyed write down passwords on a Post-It note on their desks.
The survey, of 2,000 adults, was conducted on behalf of Google Apps, and found that wedding anniversaries, birthdays and children’s names were also common. More than two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed used a partner’s name, and a fifth (19%) continued to use an ex-partners name.
The survey, commissioned by Google Apps, also found that nearly half of users (48%) had shared passwords with others.
“Worryingly, 3% of people still use ‘password’ as their password. Our approach to passwords also leaves us exposed to security breaches – two thirds (67%) of us only change them when we have to,” the company said in a statement. “The findings also reveal wider issues when it comes to online security. In 2013, one in five (21%) people admit to having clicked on spam links and only 41% have updated their antivirus software this year. Almost one in five (19%) have left their computer without logging out of a service, with one in seven (15%) Brits taking advantage of this lax approach to online security and perusing their partner’s emails.”
Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Apps, said, “People often leave their information open to online security breaches without even realizing it. Lax attitudes to online security can lead to serious consequences if strangers access your information.”
“Simple steps such as choosing more complicated passwords, always logging out of services and considering two-factor authentication, which requires more than just a password to access your account, can make a real difference to your security online.”
ESET Senior Research Fellow David Harley says, in a detailed guide to making stronger passwords, that phrases can be better passwords than actual words, “Using a passphrase in combination with other techniques such as interleaving, character substitutions, special characters and so on, does make a difference.”
Author Rob Waugh /Rob Waugh, WeLiveSecurity/
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security