New Dashlane Survey: Majority of Americans Feel More at Risk Online Due to COVID-19

It’s no surprise that many consumers are lax about their online security, from reusing passwords across accounts to choosing easy-to-guess passwords and security questions. But now that nearly all aspects of life – from work to school to entertainment – are being conducted virtually, are people feeling more vulnerable than ever online?

We conducted a survey via The Harris Poll that looks at consumer sentiment and habits around online security in light of the shift to remote work due to COVID-19. And the findings show the lines between our personal and professional lives are blurring now more than ever. 

The majority of Americans (59%) admitted to feeling more at risk online than ever before, and almost half (47%) are taking extra steps to protect themselves since the outbreak.

The study found that:

  • The majority of Americans (59%) feel more at risk online now that everything is being done virtually amid the coronavirus outbreak than ever before
    • Slightly more women (62%) than men (56%) are worried 
    • Older Americans are slightly more worried than those aged 18-34 (55%)
      • 35-44: 60%
      • 45-54: 59%
      • 55-64: 63%
      • 65+: 60%
  • Nearly half (47%) of Americans have taken extra steps to protect themselves online (e.g., used a VPN, downloaded a password manager, covered my computer camera, installed anti-malware software) since COVID-19.
  • More than half (57%) of Americans are using new or more technical products/resources more than ever before because of COVID-19 (e.g., video conferencing, password manager, online banking/bill pay, online grocery shopping).
    • 64% of Americans have some concerns with the security of these technical products/resources but need them for the convenience they offer right now.
  • Around one-third (32%) of Americans have seen family or coworkers sharing passwords (e.g., streaming services, online shopping, websites for work) more often now than prior to COVID-19
    • More men (38%) agree with this than women (26%)
    • Younger Americans agree more than older:
      • 18-34: 48%
      • 35-44: 43%
      • 45-54: 30%
      • 55-64: 17%
      • 65+: 13%

Not only is increased online behavior leaving consumers vulnerable, it’s increasing risk for companies as well. Nearly 60% of Americans are using personal devices for work during COVID-19, passing on the vulnerabilities found in bad online security practices to their employers.

  • 57% of employed Americans believe their work devices are more secure than their personal devices 
    • Yet 59% have used personal devices (e.g., computer, phone, tablet) for work while working remotely more than ever since COVID-19.
      • Majority of those aged 18-34 (72%) and 35-44 (57%) are using personal devices for work
        • 45% of those aged 55-64
        • 39% of those aged 65+ 

We know that employee password reuse is one of the most serious threats to employees and organizations, and a problem that may be exacerbated by accessing sensitive websites and accounts from personal devices. The security risks associated with password reuse are amplified when employees use the same device at home and at work, which many more employees are doing while working remotely because of COVID-19. These devices have a higher chance of contracting malware or viruses, and local data could easily be exposed if connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Without formal regulations and comprehensive cyber security education efforts from organizations, employees are more likely to transfer bad password practices and external cyber security threats from their home into their home office.

“There are obvious security risks mounting alongside the increase in remote work we’re seeing due to COVID-19,” said Dashlane co-founder and CEO Emmanuel Schalit. “Many employees that rely on their companies’ security measures for workplace devices are now using their personal devices to conduct business. This leaves individuals and companies much more vulnerable to online risk. It’s so important for consumers to take online safety into their own hands – whether they are on their devices for work or personal use.”

We are living in such tough and uncertain times and while the health of you and your loved ones remains the top priority, your online safety is more vulnerable than ever. The security of your accounts should be one thing you don’t have to worry about – now or ever. To ensure safety of all your devices, while you’re staying connected over social media, buying essential items online, and working from your home network, there are simple tools like Dashlane that can help you stay protected. 

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Dashlane from April 8 – 10, 2020 among 2,018 U.S. adults ages 18 and older (1,123 who are employed). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact dashlane@dottedlinecomm.com.

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