In the digital age, the plight of the forgotten password is all too familiar for internet users trying to access everything from banking to social media, with many users having one, universal password.
Ofcom’s ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2016’ showed that, while this practice has fallen in recent years, four in ten internet users use the same password for most websites.
The vulnerability of one website then impacts other sites as hackers are able access all of a user’s accounts, but many internet users are now using a single site to login across the web.
Speaking in The Independent, Rob Sobers, director at data protection firm Varonis, said: “Using a single social ID to access to other applications and conduct secure transactions eliminates the problem of storing passwords and other personal information with dozens, if not hundreds, of sites and services.
“If one of those sites is breached, my password would remain safe”.
Sites like Facebook and Google enable users to login to various websites using their social media account, eliminating the need for multiple accounts and passwords.
Ofcom found 36% of users had ‘easy-to-remember passwords like birthdays or names’, meaning questions remain surrounding the wisdom of using a single site as a skeleton key for the web.
Speaking following the release of the ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013’, Ofcom’s Director of Research James Thickett spoke of the trade-off between security and convenience.
He said: “While our research shows that some people are still taking security risks online, they clearly feel these are outweighed by the benefits that the internet brings”.
There are alternatives to passwords though; like the mobile phone retinal scanner developed by US company EyeVerify which banks and credit unions are using to access financial accounts.
The burning questions is; do you really want to login to your bank using your Facebook account?