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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.