When “I love you” translates to “my password is ___”

With password sharing among significant others (SOs) becoming increasingly common, controlling login information is even more difficult.

Once that information is given, it can’t be taken back. On the surface, an employee’s personal life and their employer’s security may seem unrelated, but Intermedia found that that couldn’t be further from the truth.

A survey of 300 respondents analysed the overall feelings toward sharing login information with their SOs.

>See also: Valentine’s Day is no excuse to put your identity at risk

Intermedia’s findings revealed that even though 49% of consumers consider password-sharing to be a risk, 60% do it anyway. And unfortunately for IT admins, 26% of respondents used the same passwords for both personal and work accounts.

More troubling is that 33% of those shared passwords are for email accounts, presenting a big problem for individuals and the businesses employing them. And with 11% of survey respondents reportedly accessing and/or altering a SO’s work-related materials, IT admins have a real challenge to keep corporate data secure.

By now the reader is probably thinking, “Just change your passwords!” Surprisingly, 57% of respondents don’t even bother changing their passwords after a breakup, indicating that the majority of people, and by extension their employers, are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches after the end of a relationship.

Whether it’s an angry ex or rogue employee attempting to use a company’s email server, businesses can take several steps toward ensuring external sources cannot access or alter private data:

1. Password management

Businesses can protect their data from digital trespassers by encouraging employees to keep their personal and work-related passwords separate.

Although a simple action, this password distinction enables businesses to significantly reduce the risk of consumers unlocking a company’s private data via personal login information. It’s a quick fix that can prevent long-term problems.

2. Revoking access

Unfortunately, with regular employee turnover paired with the flood of devices hitting the workplace, IT can struggle with securing employee access to workplace data. Identity and access management tools allow businesses to successfully revoke former employees’ access to online company resources and prevent potential security risks.

3. Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Even after implementing the above suggestions, we recommend adding another security layer. Both businesses and individual employees are strongly recommended to implement two‑factor authentication on all critical systems, applications and services – especially those that are exposed to the internet.

Adding 2FA can help by providing businesses and employees (with their individual personal accounts) with a multi-faceted authentication process that requires a unique security verification item in addition to standard password and username information.

>See also: It’s time to show big data more love this Valentine’s Day

Adding another authentication factor makes it exponentially more difficult for intruders to breach a company’s systems, as compared to systems that are protected only with a password.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that just as consumers should follow best personal practices regarding password sharing, businesses need to bolster their cybersecurity efforts to minimise password exploitation and maximise online safety.

The moral of the story is this: sharing your heart doesn’t mean you need to share your password.

To prevent a personal fallout from destroying your professional digital footprint, consumers should practice effective password safety. Businesses can also improve by implementing optimal cyber security standards to protect sensitive data exchanges.


Sourced by Ryan Barrett, VP, security and privacy at Intermedia

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...