Despite hearing about Heartbleed, 47% have not changed their passwords

In light of the recent Heartbleed bug, LifeLock announced survey results that reveal consumers’ behavior and attitudes surrounding the security flaw.

The recent survey, conducted online April 28-30 by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults who are online, demonstrated that, despite the potentially increased exposure due to Heartbleed, 47 percent of consumers who have heard of Heartbleed had not taken measures to protect their personal information by changing online account 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 survey 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.

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