Over 10 percent of the UK population has pretended to be someone else online by snooping or sending messages through someone else's social media or email accounts without their permission.
New research from BehavioSec, which surveyed over 1,000 respondents via YouGov between the ages of 18-60 in the UK says that our need for ease and convenience is putting our digital identities and security at risk.
Over one third (37 percent) of UK consumers admit to sharing login details for online services with a friend or partner. Ten percent have even shared online banking credentials, with 12 percent mistakenly believing that this data is not valuable to anyone aside from themselves. The details that are most likely to be shared are email passwords (23 percent), mobile phone passcodes (21 percent), social media logins (13 percent) and digital media account logins such as those of Netflix or Hulu.
Dr Neil Costigan, CEO of BehavioSec said: “We are well aware that we should look after our authentication details, but when it comes to operating online, our desire for instant, streamlined access to our digital services often takes priority. Behavioural biometrics takes these priorities into account.”
The report also found that security boundaries are slipping away for millennials, the 18-24 age group in particular. Only nine percent say they always log out of online accounts. Over a quarter (26 percent) have posted content such as a photo, status or tweet on someone else's behalf, 18 percent have changed personal details, and 13 percent have sent a message to a contact – all without their permission.
When it comes to physical belongings, 94 percent of respondents say they wouldn't look through a friend's personal items such as a purse or wallet without permission as it would “violate their privacy” and they “wouldn't want them to look through my things without permission”. This sense of privacy and hesitation is not nearly as strong in the digital world.
“It's natural for us to be curious about the lives of others, but when it comes to snooping or impersonating a friend online, it's easy to tell ourselves that it's only a bit of fun, that it doesn't really count because it's not IRL (in real life). The problem is that these kinds of actions do have consequences, and while we might play around with a friend's profile, we'd likely hate it if anyone did the same to us,” says Nathalie Nahai, web psychologist.