Entrust Datacard has become the latest company to call attention to people’s bad password habits, and people’s bad remote work habits in particular. To that end, the company has shared the results of its State of Remote Work Cyber Security Survey, which polled 1,000 full-time professionals in the US who are now working from home due to COVID-19.
In the report, Entrust Datacard found that nearly half (42 percent) of the respondents physically write down their passwords, while roughly a third store them digitally on either a smartphone or a computer workstation (34 and 27 percent, respectively). A full 20 percent also reuse the same password for multiple work accounts.
What may be even more concerning is the degree to which employees are exposing their organization to potential cybersecurity threats. Entust Datacard noted that there was a 350 percent increase in phishing attacks in March, and while people are generally aware of the threat they present, they are still not taking precautions to protect themselves. Roughly half of the respondents had received a suspicious email related to COVID-19, yet 24 percent had clinked on a link from an unknown sender and 12 percent had failed to report the email to their employer.
“While many employees are set up to work securely, they continue to seek simplicity, even if that means insecure password practices and higher risk,” said Entrust Datacard VP and Authentication Solutions GM James LaPalme. “As organizations support employees working from home, it’s clear that they need to ramp up cybersecurity training and technology.”
Entrust Datacard recommended the use of strong passwordless authentication options like smartphone biometrics. Unfortunately, most employees (64 percent) still used passwords to log into work accounts, instead of more secure forms of multifactor authentication.
Many of the survey respondents (36 percent) are using personal devices to access work materials, and many of those devices are in turn shared with other members of the household. Most (59 percent) found that they were less productive at home than at the office (reasons ranged from COVID-19 anxiety to distractions and poor technology), while half of those between the ages of 18-23 believe that some of the changes will be permanent, and that things will not return to normal once the pandemic has passed.