Cyber security is a responsibility of not only online service providers but also users. Keeping data safe and secure works in both ways. Stopping hackers from stealing information will be easier if a user also takes necessary measures to keep information intact. The massive data breaches are out of control of users but keeping different passwords on various sites is also essential and in control of users. Many users are not taking necessary measures to keep their accounts secure as they make it easier for hackers to access different accounts on the internet. According to a survey by Cyber Aware campaign of the U.K. Government, more than 52% of youngsters aged between 18–25 use same passwords for different online sites. This makes hackers to hack their accounts easily. As sensitive data is sent through emails, making accounts vulnerable for hackers could result in loss of such information.
According to the survey, around 79% of the 2,261 respondents of all ages informed that they sent bank details, copies of passports, and licenses through messaging systems. Det. Insp Mick Dodge, national cyber-protect co-ordinator with the City of London police, said in a statement, “Your email account is really a treasure trove of information that hackers won’t hesitate to exploit.”
The threat of identity theft has been growing as people send personal and sensitive information through email and rarely bother about deleting it. The study found that bank statements, electronic signatures, and soft copies of important documents are kept as it is in sent items. Moreover, if same passwords are used for various sites, the information is vulnerable for hackers. Det. Insp Dodge said that it is like keeping a door of house open for burglars. He cautioned people need to stop giving an open invitation to steal personal information. Reusing passwords for different sites assists hackers to try the login names and passwords on different websites and if they get a hit, stealing information becomes easier.
The providers of email services try hard to protect login credentials of users, but the massive data breaches may take place. The massive data breach of Yahoo was one of the largest in the history. The survey outlined that people use at least six online accounts regularly. These accounts include social media and online shopping accounts. Some of the respondents of the survey outlined that they used around 21 accounts frequently. The survey also outlined that younger people were more prone to use same passwords on different accounts.
The Cyber Aware campaign of the U.K. outlined that people need to use strong passwords along with avoiding usage of children’s names, favorite teams, or names of pets in passwords. In addition, it suggests the usage of different passwords for different accounts. It also recommends using two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to their accounts. Changing passwords time to time also helps in keeping accounts secure.