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Research: Millions of Brits unknowingly sharing passwords

May 5, 2022

Millions of Brits are leaving themselves open to being scammed by sharing their passwords with online criminals on social media, according to a study from connectivity provider TalkTalk.

The study reveals that 43 per cent of Brits say they use personal information such as birthdays, family or pet names when setting passwords. Millions admitted to then sharing this data on social media, with birthdays (37 per cent), pet names (21 per cent) and even mothers’ maiden names (15 per cent).

More than a quarter of Brits (27 per cent) have one password, or a variation of one password, that they use for all logins and online profiles, putting them at higher risk of being scammed. This is a particularly big issue for under 25s, who are 300 times more likely to only use one password for everything versus the over 45s.

It also appears many Brits are too hasty to get started when buying new tech, forgetting to ensure it’s properly protected. More than a quarter of Brits (26 per cent) will not update their security settings when they purchase or are given a new device, while 38 per cent will not set up parental controls on computers, games or phones that their children have access to. Some 39 per cent will use an existing password when setting up new devices.

To help consumers keep safe online, TalkTalk’s Head of Customer Security Mark Johnson shared these tips:

  1. Always use a new password when setting up new technology Never use personal information – such as family or pet names – in a password and try to include at least 8 digits. These are best generated by a password manager, such as TalkTalk’s SuperSafe, as they also make it much easier to remember all your passwords. Short of this, use a password that forms a new sentence (e.g. IWalked1nTh3W00dsToday!).
  2. Always shop from home. Home broadband is much more secure thank public Wi-Fi. Shopping via public Wi-Fi networks leaves users at risk of having financial or personal information stolen by scammers.
  3. Only shop on websites with an SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity, by keeping internet connections secure and preventing scammers from reading or modifying information. To view an SSL certificate’s details, users can click on the padlock symbol located within the browser bar.
  4. Don’t share passwords. Sharing a username and login with family members to access the same platforms is a bad idea. The individuals might keep the details stored on a compromised device or may not store the information in a secure location, making the password prone to theft.
  5. Don’t be fooled by “friends” in the online world. Some 42 per cent of gamers have said they are more likely to trust someone online they don’t know if they play a game together and win but at the same time, 38 per cent said they knew someone who had been targeted by scammers whilst gaming.

Johnson said: “With internet usage at record levels, it’s never been more important to stay safe online. Keeping customers safe is our number one priority, which is why we’re raising awareness of these dangers and continue to include a range of security add-ons with our broadband packages.”

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research, Social Media

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