In case you haven't noticed yet, massive data breaches and leaks seem to happen every day. Our online accounts are constantly under attack and it's as critical as ever to secure our personal information.
Even the smallest data breach can have devastating consequences. Together with the data acquired with other major data breaches like Yahoo's and Equifax's, you could just imagine the potential damage that these combined incidents can deliver to all of us.
Remember, poor password hygiene can put all your accounts in danger! This is why it's important to recognize the importance of password security.
However, despite this knowledge, why do most people still choose to ignore the warnings and stick with their bad password practices?
The password paradox
According to a survey conducted by LastPass, most do understand what good password behavior should look like:
- 59% know a secure password is important
- 91% know the risk of reusing a password
- 2/3 are fearful of password hacking
- 75% consider themselves informed on best password practices
- 72% consider their passwords sufficient protection for their online information
But despite these promising numbers, a huge chunk of them still continue on with poor password habits:
- 41% still choose a password that's easy to remember
- 61% still use the same or similar passwords
- 55% still stick with poor password habits even though they understand the risk
Why is this so?
According to LastPass, there are two personality types that reveal how people rationalize their bad password habits despite knowing the consequences.
This leads to a condition called Cognitive Dissonance - a psychological conflict resulting from an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas or values.
What are these two types of personalities?
The first one is the Type A personality. This personality type wants to be in control. Even though they reuse passwords, they believe that their own password management system and proactive actions are enough to protect them.
Type B personalities, on the other hand, rationalize their poor password hygiene by thinking that their accounts are not that valuable to hackers. This allows them to keep their devil-may-care attitude toward good password security.
According to LastPass's study, although these personality types don't seem to "impact our online behavior," they "do drive our rationalizations of poor password habits."
Don't just reset your password, reset your thinking!
Of course, there are tons of other factors that influence these attitudes toward good password hygiene.
Maybe your ever-growing number of accounts are starting to get unmanageable. Perhaps the challenge of formulating a complex password each time is starting to get old. Or maybe it could just be plain old password fatigue. These shifting circumstances sometimes shape our ever-changing attitudes toward password security.
But the bottom line is this - no matter your personality type, hackers are capitalizing on these mental lapses to create opportunities for themselves. Knowing that most people will likely have these predictable psychological traits, hackers believe that password mistakes are inevitable.
To stop hackers from exploiting our human tendencies to put good password hygiene by the wayside, we have to shift our attitudes and rethink password management itself.