Consumers Losing Faith in Account Passwords

The survey found a majority of consumers (68 percent) want companies to provide an extra layer of security to keep their online accounts safe.

privacy and passwords

Seventy percent of consumers lack a high degree of confidence that their passwords can adequately protect their online accounts, and 72 percent are in search of additional help to secure accounts, according to a survey of 2,000 UK and US consumers commissioned by TeleSign and conducted by Lawless Research.

Just over 20 percent of consumers use passwords that are over 10 years old, and almost half (47 percent) rely on a password that hasn’t been changed for five years.

In addition, 73 percent of online accounts use duplicated passwords – with an average of just six unique passwords being used to protect 24 online accounts.

"What really stood out for me was that while the industry repeatedly calls to turn on two-factor authentication each time a security incident breaks in the news, 61 percent of consumers still don’t know what two-factor authentication (2FA) is," TeleSign CEO Steve Jillings told eWEEK. "There’s a clear disconnect between a readily available technology and consumer awareness around it. We’re aiming to bridge that gap with this campaign by providing a single destination where consumers can learn about and turn on 2FA for most popular websites."

The survey findings indicate consumers are eager to learn about online security, with 72 percent welcoming advice on how they can better protect their online accounts.

The majority of consumers (68 percent) also want companies to provide an extra layer of security to keep their online accounts safe. In spite of this desire to learn about and improve their online security, six in 10 are still not leveraging the markedly improved security that 2FA can deliver.

"Ease of use when adding security or any new feature for consumers is paramount," Jillings said. "With the ubiquity of mobile phones and the uniqueness of mobile phone numbers to each individual, we believe relying on the mobile phone as a security token is the easiest and most practical solution on the market today."

In the past year, 40 percent of consumers experienced a security incident (received a notice that their personal information had been compromised, had an account hacked or had a password stolen) and 70 percent changed their passwords in response, according to the report.

More than half of consumers (54 percent) use five or fewer passwords across their entire online life, while 22 percent use just three or fewer—though 86 percent of people that are using 2FA believe it makes their online information more secure.