The Internet Security Mistake That Just About Everyone Makes
Life + Money

The Internet Security Mistake That Just About Everyone Makes

© Kacper Pempel / Reuters

If you’ve clicked on an article like this one, you probably care enough about internet security to know that you should be using strong, unique passwords for online accounts. But if you’re like the majority of Americans, you’re probably not following that particular bit of advice.

A new study finds that on average, consumers use the same password for seven online accounts. That means that more than 70 percent of online accounts are protected by passwords that are used across multiple sites, according to a new study from Telesign.

And nearly 50 percent of consumers admit that their passwords are more than five years old.

Related: 7 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Even so, it seems that many consumers will be unlikely to change their ways, since 73 percent of consumers say that forgetting their passwords is the most frustrating part of the account security process. Using more passwords would inevitably lead to even more frustration.

Among the adults surveyed, Millennials, who typically spend the most time online, had the worst security habits. More than a third of Millennials used four or fewer passwords, compared to just a quarter of other generations. That may be why nearly two-thirds of Millennials said that they had experienced a compromised account in the past year, compared to 44 percent of other generations.

So far in 2016, there have been 858 major data breaches, with near than 30 million records exposed, according to Identity Theft Resource Center. That’s an all-time high, and up from 781 breaches last year.