One in five Internet users assume their passwords are of no value to cyber criminals, according to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.
Passwords are the keys to the account holders’ personal data, private lives, and even their money and if these are stolen, the consequences can affect not only individual users, but also their contacts, Kaspersky Lab warned.
For example, a compromised e-mail gives scammers access to every account that the user has connected to it, thanks to the messages it receives notifying of successful registrations or responses to password recovery requests.
In turn, a compromised account on a social networking site makes it possible to spread spam advertising and malicious links.
A password to an account with an online store gives cybercriminals an opportunity to harvest financial data and spend other people’s money. However, only half (52%) of respondents named passwords among the valuable information that they would not want to see in the hands of cybercriminals, while 21% of that surveyed saw no inherent value in their passwords for criminals.
The survey shows that users often take the easy way out when creating and storing their passwords.
Only 26% of users create a separate password for each account while 6% of respondents use special password storage software. However, 18% of those surveyed write down their passwords in a notebook, 11% store them in a file on the device, and 10% leave them on a sticker near the computer.
At the same time 17% of users freely share their personal account passwords with family members and friends.
Meanwhile, statistics show that password theft is a common occurrence. In 2014, according to Kaspersky Security Network figures, Kaspersky Lab products protected 3.5 million people from malicious attacks which were capable of stealing usernames and passwords to accounts of various types. 14% of respondents from 23 countries also reported that their accounts had been hacked during the year.
“Even if you are not a celebrity or a billionaire, cybercriminals can profit from your credentials”, said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.
“A password is like a key to your home; you wouldn’t leave your door on the latch, or put your keys where anyone could find them, just because you don’t think you have anything of great value. Complex passwords unique to each account, carefully stored in a safe place, will save you a lot of trouble,” she added.
Kaspersky Password Manager does more than securely storing strong passwords away from curious eyes or prying malware; it automatically enters the user’s credentials on pages without the need to remember several complex passwords. A strong password generator is another feature of Kaspersky Password Manager for Windows.