NEW YORK — Has protecting your many online accounts left you feeling more confused than secure? You’re not alone. A new study finds the average American has been locked out of ten online accounts in the past month alone. It turns out the biggest problem in online security may be remembering how you secured your accounts.
A survey of 2,005 Americans finds this issue doesn’t appear to be going away either. In fact, 63 percent of respondents say that this is a recurring problem for them.
Commissioned by OnePoll on behalf of LastPass, researchers reveal that memorizing passwords is so difficult that two in three respondents (65%) say they will forget it unless they write it down somewhere. More than half of Americans say they have to execute at least five password resets each month on average; spending at least 10 minutes each time doing so.
This won’t solve anything permanently however, as 57 percent add they will forget their new password immediately upon resetting it. As a result, 58 percent say they struggle to feel productive while working remotely.
‘Password anxiety’ is a real phenomenon
Two in three Americans say they will actually avoid visiting certain websites or accounts where they’ve forgotten their passwords. Accounts people with lost passwords avoid most often include their personal email (38%), their bank account (35%), and the account for their utility bills (35%).
Sixty-five percent say they experience a moment of panic when they realize their computer or mobile device doesn’t have a password stored for the website they want to log into. Interestingly, 57 percent say that if they ever lost their phone, they’d be locked out of most of their accounts. When it comes to having access to their passwords, 65 percent have been in a situation where they needed digital access to their passwords and important documents.
“For many, getting locked out of their accounts is an all too common occurrence. In today’s digital, remote world, people need to be able to access their passwords, their data and documents at any time, from anywhere,” a spokesperson for LastPass says in a statement.
Unfortunately, seven in 10 Americans feel like they have too many different passwords to remember. Because of this, 60 percent admit they tend to be lazy when it comes to creating unique and secure passwords.
Keeping it simple isn’t always a good strategy
For simplicity’s sake, the average respondent says they use the same password for six different online accounts. These websites include everything from personal to work-related log-ins. Two in three people (68%) admit that even when their passwords are different, they are still very similar.
With the majority of Americans spending more time online working and virtually socializing, password sharing has become inevitable. Half the poll said they have had a need to share a password with someone else, including their children (33%), significant others (30%), and co-workers (23%).
People admit to sharing their password to things such as their Amazon account (25%), streaming services (37%), and even their personal emails (38%). Nearly 80 percent of respondents say they use six streaming services, but 43 percent only pay for three services themselves. A third of respondents add they have fallen victim to phishing or other types of online scams.
“People are spending more time online than ever before – for work, school, connecting with family and friends. It is possible to take control of your digital life and that starts with proper password hygiene. Keeping your digital information safe, secure, and easily accessible across all devices is easier than you may think. With the right tools, people can stop wasting time getting locked out of their accounts, resetting and reusing weak passwords, and start to secure their information effectively and efficiently” the spokesperson for LastPass adds.