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Are Americans Using Risky Password Tactics?

A recent survey found American millenials methods of using passwords could be insecure

Published on May 7, 2020

For many overseas Americans, particularly those traveling regularly, the digital world is an essential network for documents, e-mails, services and more. But a recent study has found that 44% of Americans aged between 25 and 34 are using password features like 'password autofill' which, according to experts, leave them at greater risk of cyber attacks.

The study, conducted by tech firm Clario and survey firm OnePoll, found that "More than three-quarters of millennials use the same password for more than ten different devices, apps and accounts, and some have even admitted to using the same password more than 50 different places." The study also found, however, that awareness of security is particularly high, reporting that "fewer than one in fifty millennials believe their smartphone is 100% safe and more than 80 percent of Americans aged 25-34 are concerned about the security of their mobile devices".

Alun Baker, CEO at Clario, explained that "Smartphones are an integral part of our lives and they contain a huge amount of personally valuable data ranging from personal finance, family photos to private health information. Check the companies that were breached last year - Uber, Facebook, Booking, among others... These are apps that nearly every millenial uses. If a person's password gets leaked, cybercriminals would have immediate access to as many as 20 or more of the victim's accounts/apps. Passwords are not just passwords, they're keys to our digital life. Using multi-factor authentication, a secured password manager, VPN, and staying up-to-date on data breaches is a good way of protecting yourself from unwanted hacks. However, most people don't follow these recommendations daily, but services like Clario makes it easy for them to do so, providing 24/7 protection that puts users in control of their data."

Highlighting the importance of security, Clario's experts have offered some useful tips for keeping secure when logging on:

- Use a trusted password manager app instead of password autofill which, unlike autofill, makes it more difficult for other users to gain access to your saved passwords.
- VPN isn't just for work. Use it any time that you connect to WiFi – even if you think it is a secure network.
- Avoid storing photos or scans of important documents in your photos folder - use a trusted service like Dropbox instead.
- Check your app permissions. Stay vigilant about the level of permissions that you give to apps on your device, especially if they want to access data that's irrelevant to their function.
- Create separate accounts on your devices - for every member of the family.

Today, May 7, the first Thursday of May, marks Password Day - so a good reminder to check on how you're using passwords to keep yourself secure wherever you are in the world.

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