LifeLock Survey Reveals That 47 % of Consumers Who’ve Heard of the Heartbleed Bug Have Not Changed Even One Password and May Still Be Susceptible to Hackers
TEMPE, Ariz. (May 13, 2014) - in light of the recent Heartbleed bug that left user credentials and sensitive information potentially susceptible to hackers and identity thieves, LifeLock (NYSE: LOCK), a leading provider of identity theft protection services, today announced survey results that reveal consumers' behavior and attitudes surrounding the security flaw.
The recent survey, conducted online April 28-30 by Harris Poll on behalf of LifeLock among over 2,000 U.S. adults who are online, demonstrated that, despite the potentially increased exposure due to Heartbleed, nearly half (47 percent) of consumers who have heard of Heartbleed had not taken measures to protect their personal information by changing online account passwords.
According to earlier LifeLock research conducted by Forrester*, 70 percent of people believe they are using strong passwords. In the recent LifeLock study conducted by Harris Poll, less than half (42 percent) of those who use passwords say they use a combination of unrelated letters, numbers and symbols to formulate their passwords. Of those consumers who have heard of Heartbleed, just 53 percent had changed their passwords. When asked to give a reason why they did not change their password, 44 percent said they weren't concerned about the security issue. Twenty-nine percent had not changed their password because they "hadn't gotten around to it yet" and 12 percent said the "thought of changing password(s) is too overwhelming."
For these individuals LifeLock recommends some easy steps:
- Consumers should focus on updating the passwords from the websites that store critical personal information, including banks, email accounts, file-sharing accounts and social networking sites.
- Consumers should consider leveraging password management software that can take the hassle out of managing strong passwords.
When creating passwords, many people use names that have sentimental value to them or words that are easily attributed to them and can be recalled quickly. The LifeLock survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 29% of online Americans use pet names, spouse's names and friend's names to formulate passwords. Although these passwords may be easier to remember, they are also easier for strangers to hack.
LifeLock recommends adhering to the following tips when creating a password:
- Don't use personal information or terms
- Add special characters, numbers and punctuation
- Use the acronym of a sentence to create your password
- Intentionally misspell words
- Consider a password manager for added protection
- Set an alert reminder to change up your passwords on a regular basis, not just for a one time event such as Heartbleed
"Given the rapidly evolving digital landscape, there are many opportunities for hackers and identity thieves to steal sensitive information," says personal finance expert and LifeLock educational partner, Jean Chatzky. "Now more than ever, it is increasingly important to create strong and unique passwords in an effort to protect yourself and your family."
* In a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of LifeLock, adults 18 and older were surveyed online between February 12-24, 2014.
Harris Poll Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Lifelock from April 28-30, 2014 among 2,060 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact the media contact below.
LifeLock, Inc. (NYSE: LOCK), is a leading provider of proactive identity theft protection services for consumers and fraud and risk solutions for enterprises. LifeLock's threat detection, proactive identity alerts, and comprehensive remediation services provide peace of mind for consumers amid the growing threat of identity theft. The LifeLock Wallet™ mobile app helps consumers manage their identity and payment cards on the go and enables LifeLock members to receive alerts and services on their digital device. Leveraging unique data, science and patented technology from ID Analytics, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, LifeLock offers identity theft protection that goes significantly beyond credit monitoring. As part of its commitment to help fight identity theft, LifeLock works to train law enforcement and partners with a variety of non-profit organizations to help consumers establish positive habits to combat this threat.