Social Media Blamed for Rise in Stolen Passwords

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 03-13-2017 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Social Media Blamed for Rise in Stolen Passwords
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    Social Media Blamed for Rise in Stolen Passwords

    A study says the huge growth in passwords and users' unawareness of shared data between social media platforms will lead to more password thefts and breaches.
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    Passwords Per User Will Increase
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    Passwords Per User Will Increase

    By 2020, users are expected to have an average of 25 passwords. With 3.5 billion people online, that brings the number of passwords for humans to 87.5 billion by 2020.
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    Social Media Accounts Increase Risk
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    Social Media Accounts Increase Risk

    There are 1.7 billion Facebook accounts, 500 million Instagram accounts, 450 million Linked In accounts, and 300 million G+ accounts. Social media platforms introduce significant risks because of social logins or application passwords, which allow a single login to be linked to these accounts.
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    Accounts Per User Logons Accelerate
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    Accounts Per User Logons Accelerate

    In 2016, the average number of accounts per user was 26 in the United States and 36 in United Kingdom. By 2020, the number of accounts is expected to rise to 90 per user in some regions.
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    Social Logins Reduce Fatigue, Increase Threats
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    Social Logins Reduce Fatigue, Increase Threats

    Although social logins reduce the growing fatigue of having to remember many passwords, they increase the risk of cyber-security threats. Access to these logins should be revoked when no longer required.
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    Social Media and Continuous Sharing
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    Social Media and Continuous Sharing

    Social Media platforms often continuously share customer data without users' knowledge. For example, using public WiFi and your social login when registering to a website creates a link to those accounts. A third-party provider has continuous access to your data until you revoke it.
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    Sharing Information Is Risky
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    Sharing Information Is Risky

    Sharing information on social media can lead to identity theft, virtual kidnapping, or spear phishing against friends, colleagues or relatives. According to Verizon, it is now the third most common cause of data breaches—and it's rising.
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    Fake Accounts on Social Media
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    Fake Accounts on Social Media

    It is easy to create fake accounts and impersonate others on social media. Furthermore, people co-opt other peoples' photos and present them as their own.
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    Social Media Passwords Are Weak
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    Social Media Passwords Are Weak

    Very few social media users use multifactor authentication when logging in, and 60% use weak or reused passwords. Result: A breach at one site can easily lead to accounts at other sites being taken over.
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    Machine Passwords Are Vulnerable
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    Machine Passwords Are Vulnerable

    Hackers compromise machine user accounts and leapfrog across the IT infrastructure to take over privileged accounts. 60% to 80% of these are managed by using common passwords across multiple systems.
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    Damages Will Grow
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    Damages Will Grow

    Based on the accelerating frequency and growing costs of security breaches, damages worldwide are expected to grow from $3 billion in 2015 to $6 trillion by 2021.
 

A statistical analysis forecasts that there will be 300 billion passwords for humans and machines by 2020, increasing the global attack surface for cyber-criminals. Of these passwords, 100 billion will be used by humans and 200 billion by machines. Between now and then, the password attack surface will grow by an order of magnitude, the report says. Social media is largely to blame, according to the study, "The Future of Password Security," which was conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures and Thycotic. The study combines existing publicly available statistics and correlates that data with previous surveys conducted by Thycotic on 1,000 companies worldwide. According to the report, more than 3 billion user credentials and passwords were stolen in 2016, with 8.2 million passwords being stolen every day. "Statistical analysis suggests that ... a staggering three out of seven people have already had their credentials/passwords stolen at some point," says the report by Steve Morgan, editor in chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, and Joseph Carson, head of global strategic alliances at Thycotic. Here are some of the highlights of the report.

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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