Even Security Professionals Continue to Reuse Passwords, Study Finds

Security Experts Reuse Passwords

We can only imagine that being a security expert is not easy. You spend years trying to tell people that they should really start taking their online safety seriously, and yet, the constant barrage of successful cyberattacks shows that all of your useful advice is falling on deaf ears.

Of course, the reasons for this are way too many, and most of them are well known. It's all down to the way the human brain works, but nevertheless, it must be incredibly frustrating watching users make the same silly mistakes day in, day out. It must be even more frustrating preaching against something while knowing that you yourself do it. Nearly half of the information security professionals can confirm, apparently.

Well, this is embarrassing

At the Infosecurity Europe Conference in June, representatives of Lastline, a threat protection company, stopped 306 information security professionals and asked them some questions. One of the questions was "Do you reuse passwords?" and apparently, 45% of the interviewed answered affirmatively. Yes, those are the same people who continue banging on about how you shouldn't reuse passwords. In addition to this, Lasline learned that about 20% of the people who tell you not to connect to unprotected Wi-Fi networks have been connected to unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

What can we make of all this?

As far as cybersecurity blunders go, reusing passwords is one of the most basic ones. So, you won't be wrong in criticizing the 45% of the infosec specialists for it. They are the ones who should know better. Then again, we probably shouldn't be too hard on them.

First of all, when compared to regular users, the percentage of experts committing what has been declared a security cardinal sin is quite a bit lower. Our own study from a couple of weeks ago, for example, showed that around 83% of Americans are prone to password reuse. About the same percentage of security experts were reusing passwords five years ago when ESET conducted a similar study. So, unlike regular users who stubbornly continue to put themselves at risk, the experts are at least showing some progress, though it's still far from enough.

Surveys like Lastline's one are both interesting, and a bit disconcerting, but people do tend to forget that there are, for example, physicians who smoke, although they know exactly how bad this is for them. In other words, security experts, like physicians, are human beings that make mistakes. What you can do is learn from their mistakes and get a password manager that will solve the password reuse problem for you.

July 27, 2018

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