1 in 4 Ex-employees Can Login to Past Employers Due to Shared Passwords

Believe it or not, many former employees can still access their old work accounts due to poor password practices by businesses nationwide. It’s an all-too-common problem with enormous consequences.

New data from authentication firm Beyond Identity exposed the actual threat that many businesses are facing when they don’t do enough to control access to work-related accounts (for both current and former employees). Disgruntled employees present the most significant threat with the risk of data theft and sabotage. 

The Beyond Identity report polled 1,000 workers. Here are some of the key findings: 

  • Nearly 1 in 4 employees said they still had access to accounts from past jobs.
  • 41.7% of workers said they shared workplace passwords with co-workers, contractors, or family and friends.
  • Nearly 50% of workers said that strict password policies negatively affect their productivity. Therefore, 1 in 10 workers never or rarely change their passwords.
  • Most workers use a single universal password across personal and work accounts. This increases vulnerability to third-party attacks for the organization the individual works for.

What are the key takeaways? 

  1. There are significant dangers that come with password sharing. While this is a common occurrence in many businesses, it doesn’t make the practice safe or recommended. 
  2. Start using a password manager today if you’re not doing so already. We’ve linked our recommended list and associated blog here.
  3. Use password managers’s auto-generators when creating passwords. Don’t use passwords that contain personal information or details that hackers can easily guess. 
  4. In a perfect world, get rid of passwords in your organization. What does this mean? Initiate the use of alternative authentication methods to support password security without jeopardizing productivity.

Why is password security so hard to come by?

People in management positions are most likely to share passwords . Ironically, they were also the individuals to most likely favor harsh punishments for password sharing among their organizations.

So, where’s the disconnect? Password sharing comes down to convenience. The disregard for password sharing best practices among management positions comes from a feeling that those in managerial positions are “above the rules.” These kinds of gaps in password security are what open an organization to unnecessary vulnerability.

If your organization is looking to make small, relatively cost-free changes to enhance your organization’s overall security, password security is a great place to start. If you have questions or if we can support your organization in any way, reach out to PK Tech here.