Do you know the password to your spouse’s computer?
What about his or her social media accounts?
His or her email accounts?
Not married, just friends, maybe with benefits – what about his or her passwords?
We will get to work passwords in a minute.
ExpressVPN asked 1,500 American adults in an exclusive but not married relationship about their password sharing habits.
Couples, they say, share a variety of passwords and, most commonly, within the first six months of dating. What could possibly go wrong?
Here is what ExpressVPN found:
The most commonly shared passwords are for video streaming (78%).
Followed by mobile devices – nothing sensitive on your phone I am sure (64%).
Then comes music streaming (58%).
47% share social media passwords and 38% share email passwords.
Respondents said that sharing passwords is most indicative of trust (70%), commitment (63%), intimacy (54%), marriage-material (51%), affection (48%), and vulnerability (47%).
Given that half of Americans who marry get divorced and lots of people don’t even get married any more, the idea of sharing passwords might have some “long term” problems – as in when one of you moves on.
Now lets move to work passwords. Everyone has their own userid and password, but in many companies, the way that account setup is done, so does IT and sometimes, even your boss knows. Sometimes, even your coworkers, even if that is against company policy.
FYI, if something bad happens and you want to prosecute the employee, if you are one of the above companies, you better have some really good evidence (it is possible, but hard).
In many companies, employees, especially within a department, share passwords to some cloud services, such as those that charge by the user.
And IT often has “system” passwords – ones that “have to” be shared.
And don’t forget passwords to Internet of Things devices like, for example, your Alexa.
Lets say that at some point the magic fades.
If you are not married you split. If you are married you get divorced. If you are employed, you leave, voluntarily or otherwise. If you are a vendor to a company, the company changes vendors.
In any of these cases, do you know what passwords are at risk? In many cases, the answer is no.
If the separation is “less than friendly” – whether work or personal – can you change the at risk passwords quickly?
Do you know if the other person has downloaded your data – business or personal – before the split?
Everyone wants to assume that people are honest and that bad things won’t happen but the percentage of employees, for example, who take data with them when they leave is high. In 2015 Biscom did a survey. 87% of employees took data with them that they created and 28% took data that others created. While these numbers are old, they are probably still in the ballpark.
Most companies don’t change passwords when employees leave because it is logistically challenging, but especially with IT folks, if they are disgruntled, they can and have done major damage. Likewise scorned lovers have done their share of damage too. All you need to do is check out the news from time to time.
Like I said, no one wants to think that relationships, business or personal, will end and even fewer think that they will end badly.
To quote Maya Angelou: “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”
Just a suggestion.