Are you leaving the door open to a data breach?

New research from Bitwarden, published ahead of World Password Day on 5th May, has revealed that while Brits say they’re aware of password and security best practices, many are guilty of not following them.

Findings show Brits struggling to adopt security habits

35% of UK consumers told Bitwarden they had experienced a data breach in the past 18 months, a significantly higher figure than the global number of 23%.

86% of Brits said they logged into websites or apps multiple times a day, while 68% said it was more important for a password to be secure than easy to remember. On top of this, 99% claimed to be either very or somewhat familiar with password security best practices.

If you were only to read these statistics, you’d perhaps wonder how so many Brits fall victim to data breaches when we all seem so switched on.

The following statistics give you the answer:

  • 59% of people say they manage their passwords by remembering them
  • 86% said they still reuse the same passwords across multiple websites
  • 35% admitted needing to reset their passwords numerous times a week or even daily because they can’t remember them

Two-factor authentication popular, but other areas lacking

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is becoming more widely used, with 82% using it for work and 81% using it for personal accounts. While these numbers are high, it’s questionable whether people use these features of their own doing or because their employer or specific services insist they do so.

While 2FA is becoming more prominent, other security technologies are still seeing a slow uptake. For example, only 37% of Brits use password managers (compared to 44% of Americans), while only 34% said they were required to use a password manager at work. At the same time, 69% said they believe workplaces should provide employees with a password manager account. If you think the same, there are plenty of free password manager apps available that you can use without your employer telling you!

Another area where Brits are lagging is in their average password length. For example, 69% of Brits told Bitwarden their average password length was between nine and 15 characters. Research has shown that passwords of at least 14 characters are a good starting point from a security perspective.

Commenting on the results, Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell said: “The importance of password management best practices is getting through to people.

“Individuals understand they should be secure and that recognition is an important first step. But they can better protect themselves by embracing tools such as password managers that are readily available, and free. Password managers mitigate the need for an over-reliance on memory and password reuse across multiple sites.

“Despite the documented effectiveness and low cost of password managers, workplaces surprisingly often leave employees to figure password management out themselves.

“Employers should pay heed to the fact that employees want to be protected. In addition to the desire for password management software, 83% of global respondents believe employers should provide security tools and training specifically for a remote work environment.”

Protecting yourself from data breaches

How much are you doing to protect yourself from data breaches?

If you’re using the same passwords across multiple sites, creating easy to remember passwords, and not using password managers to help create and store hard to crack passwords, then you could be doing more!

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