FICO has released new data that provides yet more evidence of the public’s poor password habits. The findings specifically apply to the United Kingdom, where more than 20 percent of the population reuse the same 2-5 passwords across all of their accounts. Approximately the same number of people (18 percent) wrote their passwords down, and one in 20 only had a single password that they used for everything.
Thankfully, the data did reveal that there is some cause for hope. FICO found that people are quite willing to accept more secure forms of authentication, especially when it comes to their finances. Fifty-three percent would be willing to use an SMS one-time passcode, and a full 71 percent would be willing to provide their bank with a biometric identifier, whether it be a fingerprint (48 percent), a voice print (23 percent), or a facial image (25 percent). Seventy percent were also okay with the use of passive behavioral biometrics.
“It’s important that consumers are given the confidence that transactions can be completed swiftly without any increased risk to security by using biometrics, especially with consumer behaviors switching to digital channels as a consequence of COVID-19,” said FICO Identity Solutions Expert Sarah Rutherford. “Since face-to-face interactions are likely to be reduced for some time to come, it is crucial for consumers and financial institutions to have mutual respect for the benefits biometrics deliver. Consumers don’t generally manage their passwords well, so biometrics offers a far more secure way to verify a person’s ID.”
FICO conducted its study before the onset of COVID-19, but noted that the volume of digital transactions has gone up during the pandemic. People in older generations had slightly better password habits than younger generations, but neither deviated too sharply from the overall averages. Twenty-four percent of the respondents had abandoned an online purchase when they couldn’t remember a password, and 15 percent had decided not to open a new account with an existing provider for the exact same reason.
The trends in the FICO data are comparable to those found in several other reports in the past few months. Entrust Datacard found that 20 percent of remote workers were reusing passwords, while LastPass found that the number for consumers is as high as 66 percent.
June 18, 2020 – by Eric Weiss