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February 21, 2018

Over half of Brits aged 18-25 use same password across all accounts

Cyber security awareness of the younger generation is lacking, as survey finds majority reuse the same passwords and share information.

By April Slattery

Research has revealed that young Brits are among the many that lack cyber security awareness, despite the continuing push to boost skills.

The surveys of 2,261 respondents revealed that more than 52% of Britons aged 18-25 are using the same password for a number of different online services. Additionally, 27% of respondents admitted to using the same key identifier to unlock their account across all platforms.

On average, the survey found that people use at least six online accounts including social media and online shopping all with the same log ins. Shockingly some admitted having up to 21 different accounts, with the same or similar credentials. Furthermore, a staggering 79% of the respondents admitted that they had sent bank details or copies of identification documents via messaging systems.

The survey results increased concerns over the safety of sensitive data on the internet and the ease it will bring hackers to steal data. The UK Government’s Cyber Aware campaign warned internet users of the dangers of repeating passwords, as well as the impact it can bring to them such as identity theft.

Over half of Brits aged 18-25 use same password across all accounts

Using the same passwords makes users prone to being hacked.

“With cyber-attacks a regular occurrence in today’s headlines, it is distressing to see that the public still hasn’t taken steps to better protect their personal information online,” Rob Norris VP Head of Enterprise & Cyber Security EMEIA at Fujitsu said. “Every one of us who has ever used the internet from their mobile, PC, laptop or tablet, shopped online or opened an email account is now a potential target to hackers.

The Cyber Aware Campaign suggested that users use strong and separate passwords for all of their accounts. Additionally, other advice they offered was for users to not use names of children, pets or other things that could be easily discovered or hacked into.

Additional security elements have been added to many platforms to better protect individuals. One of those is the two-factor authentication ability, which Apple introduced in its iOS 11 update. This gives individuals the ability to create a double security layer, making it harder for hackers to access their accounts.

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The survey findings have caused quite a stir among the technology industry, bringing concern that not enough is being done to reduce results like these.

“One thing users should also consider is two factor authentication alternatives where possible. As passwords and PIN numbers are increasingly being considered a thing of the past because they can be copied, stolen, guessed or shared easily, consumers should be considering biometrics such as facial, voice, iris, palm or fingerprint, for an additional layer of protection,” said Norris.

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A contributing factor to increasing cyber security awareness around passwords is the MPs password scandal that happened late last year. It was found that MPs were giving their passwords to other people to access their accounts, or leaving accounts logged in giving free access to hackers to take control of their computers and accounts.

Following the discovery, the UK clamped down on cyber security to ensure everyone had the right skills and awareness to protect themselves. Various programmes have been launched, such as a £20m cyber security training programme, as well as added training within organisations.

Norris said: “There are no more excuses for users to put cyber security on the backbench – we need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to safeguarding our technology and be vigilant when it comes to our practices.”

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