password security statistics

How secure are our passwords? 2021 Statistics

How many of us still use our first pet’s name as our password for pretty much everything? Let’s take a look in our 2021 roundup of password statistics.

Password security. It’s one of the single most important privacy concerns most of us should have today. And while two factor authentication and other security measures help keep most of our most sensitive accounts (banks, emails and so forth) a single password could be all it takes for people to access copious amounts of personal data on you.

So just how seriously are we taking our password security? We look at some key password statistics and figures to find out.

Password security statistics in a nutshell

Want the detail? Great. You’ll find it within. But if you just want the top level password statistics, here’s your bullet points:

  • Only 21% of us use different passwords for every platform. The vast majority fail to do this
  • 1 in 20 of us share our passwords with our spouses or partners
  • There were 1 million searches per month in Google for “password manager” globally in March 2021, up from 301,000 in March 2021 and 165,000 in March 2019
  • In March 2021, “how to hack instagram account” was searched 60,500 times
  • According to Nordpress, over 2.5 million people use “123456,” as a password

How secure are our passwords?

We polled 1,000 people in the UK (using Google Surveys) in March 2021 to find out common mistakes we might be making when it comes to our passwords. Here are the findings.

Only 21% of us use different passwords for every platform

 

Repeat use of passwords across multiple platforms means that if one platform is compromised, then your other platforms are all at risk as well. Different passwords for each platform your use passwords for is the safest approach.

But only 21% of us use different passwords on every platform.

This is relatively consistent across men and women, according to our survey. And even when we dig into the different age groups, we don’t find too much variation, with one exception. Take a look:

how many people use different passwords for every platform?
The over 65s are the likeliest to use different passwords for each platform
Age Group% Who Use a Different Password for Every Platform
18 – 2420.7
24 – 3418
35 – 4422.4
45 – 5418.6
55 – 6423.2
65+30.2

The standout age group most likely to adapt the safer approach of diversifying passwords for every platform is the over 65s.

Other Password Survey Findings

  • 5.1% of respondents in our survey said “my partner or spouse knows my passwords.”

This is more common amongst women than men, with 6% of women saying their partners know their passwords, falling to 4% for men.

  • 4.4% admit to keeping a record of their passwords on paper

That’s a potentially dangerous game when it comes to password security. Simply losing your notebook or leaving it somewhere for a period of time could compromise your online security significantly.

  • 4.1% use the name of a pet in passwords

Demand for password management software

For those of us (like me) who struggle to juggle multiple passwords, password managers have made this a lot easier in recent years. These tools handle the whole process of keeping on top of passwords for you. And demand is on the up.

We used kwfinder.com to assess demand both globally and in the UK for such tools.

We found:

  • There were 1 million global searches for “password manager” in March 2021, up 301,000 in March 2020 and 165,000 in March 2019.
  • In the UK alone, there were 74,000 searches in March 2021

demand for password managers

 Global Searches/Month for “Password Manager”UK Searches/Month for “Password Manager”
Mar-1916500012100
Apr-1916500014800
May-1916500014800
Jun-1916500014800
Jul-1920100014800
Aug-1920100018100
Sep-1924600018100
Oct-1924600022200
Nov-1924600018100
Dec-1924600018100
Jan-2030100022200
Feb-2024600022200
Mar-2030100027100
Apr-2045000033100
May-2045000033100
Jun-2045000033100
Jul-2045000033100
Aug-2055000033100
Sep-2055000040500
Oct-2055000049500
Nov-2067300049500
Dec-2082300049500
Jan-2182300074000
Feb-2182300060500
Mar-21100000074000

We saw a sizeable jump in searches as many of us began working from home in March and April 2021 owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. So it seems a reasonable assumption that these increased searches could be driven, at least in part, by a need to ensure staff have remote access to systems and platforms used for their job from home.

It seems pertinent, after all, for businesses to look to improve password security at the best of times. But perhaps more so when, for the first time in many cases, employees are working remotely.

The search habits of would-be account hackers

Turns out we head to Google for answers on just about anything – including illegal activities.

It seems some beginner aspiring account hackers are heading to Google in the hope of finding tutorials to help them hack people’s accounts.

And the most in demand how-to is for Instagram.

Let’s take a look:

KeywordSearches March 2021 Globally
How to hack facebook account135000
How to hack instagram account60500
how to hack tiktok account2900
how to hack whatsapp account4400
how to hack twitter account4400
how to hack youtube account680
how to hack snapchat account8100

Fortunately, most of the major social platforms offer some sort of additional security layer now (do opt in). So even if our prospective hackers did manage to find a “social media account hacking for dummies,” guide on Google, they’d still have a hard time getting into your accounts.

How to keep your passwords and accounts secure

We get it. Managing hundreds of passwords is, frankly, tedious. But password managers make it easier. And a few hints to keep your accounts secure follow:

  • Do keep separate passwords for every platform. Pretty please.
  • Use secure traicky-to-guess passwords that use a variety of letter cases, numbers and special characters. You can use random password generators to create complex passwords for you
  • Change your passwords if you have any reason to believe they have been compromised. So, for example, if you’re one of the 5% who shares passwords with a partner and that partner becomes an ex partner, now would be a great time to make some changes
  • Change regularly anyway! It’s good practise to make changes to passwords on occasion
  • Opt into 2 factor authentication and extra verification methods wherever they are available to you

Good luck 🙂

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