16 Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring Any IT Company
The struggle to get users to make good, strong, unique passwords and actually keep them secret is real for IT professionals. It can be hard to demonstrate to users just how dangerous their bad password can be to the entire company, even though an estimated 60% of data breaches involved the improper use of credentials in 2020. There’s no rhyme or reason to why employees create and handle passwords unsafely, no profile that IT teams can quickly look at to determine that someone might be an accidental credential compromise risk. Employees of every stripe are unfortunately drawn to making awful passwords and playing fast and loose with them – and that predilection doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
The average adult has an estimated 100 passwords floating around that they’re using. That’s a bewildering tangle of passwords to manage. About 300 billion passwords are currently in use by humans and machines worldwide. The global pandemic helped put even more passwords into circulation as people on stay-at-home orders created an abundance of new online accounts. According to the conclusions of a global study conducted by Morning Consult for IBM, people worldwide created an average of 15 new online accounts per person during the main thrust of the pandemic.
Many of those logins were compromised from the start thanks to abundant dark web data. An estimated 15 billion unique logins are circulating on the dark web right now. In 2020 alone, security professionals had to contend with a 429% increase in the number of corporate login details with plaintext passwords exposed on the dark web. That dramatic increase in risk per user comes back to haunt businesses. The average organization is now likely to have about 17 sets of login details available on the dark web for malicious actors to enjoy. That number is only going to continue to grow thanks to events like this year’s giant influx of fresh passwords from the RockYou 2021 leak.
Research by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) shows that employees will choose memorability over security when making a password every time. Their analysts found that 15% of people have used their pet’s name as their password at some point, 14% have used the name of a family member,13% have used a significant date, such as a birthday or anniversary and another 6% have used information about their favorite sports team as their password. That makes cybercriminals’ jobs easy even if they’re trying to directly crack a single password. After all, those users have probably told them everything that they’d need to know to do the job in their social media profiles.
US companies aren’t any better off. In fact, their bad password problems are just a little bit worse. 59% of Americans use a person’s name or family birthday in their passwords, 33% include a pet’s name and 22% use their own name. We can’t chalk that blizzard of bad passwords up to ignorance of good password habits, because even employees who know better are slacking on password safety. Over 90% of participants in a password habits survey understood the risk of poor password hygiene, but 59% admitted to still engaging in unsafe password behaviors at work anyway.
Worse yet, employees are also sharing their passwords with other people at an alarming rate, even if the people they’re sharing a password with don’t work at the same company. Over 30% of respondents in a Microsoft study admitted that their organization had experienced a cybersecurity incident as a result of compromised user credentials that had been shared with people outside their companies.
Source: ID Agent.