Do you have only one password for all accounts? Do you use only lower-case letters in your passwords? Do you enter your password when the URL begins with http (rather than https)? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are leaving yourself wide open to identity theft and the hacking of your personal information.
For years, we’ve been writing about password safety–including providing many tips. [See, for example: 1, 2, 3, 4.] Today, let us consider WHY you might still exhibiting risky password behavior.
Recently, Help Net Security described “The Psychological Reasons Behind Risky Password Practices.” Here are a few of the conclusions:
“When it comes to online security, personality type does not inform behavior, but it does reveal how consumers rationalize poor password habits. Among key findings around personality types and online behavior, nearly half of respondents who identify as a Type A personality did not believe that they are at an increased risk by reusing passwords because of their own proactive efforts, which implies their behavior stems from their need to be in control.”
“In contrast, more than half of respondents who identify as a Type B personality believe they need to limit their online accounts and activities due to fear of a password breach. By convincing themselves that their accounts are of little value to hackers, they are able to maintain their casual, laid-back attitude towards password security. This suggests that while personality types didn’t factor into the end result of poor password habits, it does provide insight around why people behave this way.”
“’Developing poor password habits is a universal problem affecting users of any age, gender, or personality type,’ says Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass. ‘Most users admit to understanding the risks but continue to repeat the behavior despite knowing they’re leaving sensitive information vulnerable to potential hackers. In order to establish more effective defenses, we need to better understand why individuals act a certain way online and a system that makes it easier for the average user to better manage their password behavior.”