12% Internet users are willing to disclose their log in credentials to strangers

by CXOtoday Staff    Nov 09, 2010

Password HackInternet users are required to protect their sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, and be wary of sharing personal data with strangers. However, a new BitDefender survey sought to determine Internet users’ password setting habits has revealed some starling facts. The survey shows that 12% of the respondents were willing to disclose their log in credentials to the surveyor, a total stranger.

The survey comprised of 1.000 randomly chosen respondents (with an average age of 29.5 years and pertaining to 16 different countries). Of these over 670 respondents admitted to having more than three online accounts which require a password in order to be accessed. In addition to that, 73% of the entire group stated that they actually resort to the same password to log in to several accounts.

“Based on these findings, it is therefore possible to assume that someone who finds out or guesses a single password can access all of the respective person’s accounts. In other words, after discovering your instant messaging password, someone can easily sneak into your e-mail, social media, bank and other accounts employing the same password for authentication”, said Sabina Datcu, BitDefender E-Threats Analyst and Communication Specialist, author of this experiment.

The survey also focused on the respondents’ approach to password strength/security. While a quarter of interviewees stated they use the minimum six-character combination, only 10 out of the 1,000 participants declared that they use an alphanumeric sequence longer than fifteen characters.

“What is most intriguing is not that passwords are preponderantly short, which is understandable and convenient in terms of the mnemonic effort, but that more than a hundred individuals were quite eager to share such valuable credentials in order to check their strength with the interviewer. It’s like having a bunch of duplicates of your home keys and simply handing them out to anyone who asks”, Datcu added.