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The dangers of using your pet's name as a password



Aura research finds families vulnerable online

Pet passwords can be dangerous


Aura
, the leader in intelligent safety for consumers, today introduced a public safety awareness campaign encouraging families to bolster their online safety habits. Marking the start of National Pet Month and World Password Day on May 5, Aura has released new data that found more than one-third (39%) of American pet parents have used their pet's name as part of their password for an online account. That stat rises to 1 in 2 (50%) among pet parents between 35-44 years old. 

Through this campaign, Aura aims to highlight to families that while using a pet's name as a password may be a show of love and an easy-to-remember access code to your online life, pet passwords are some of the easiest for cybercriminals to guess.

"People tend to create passwords that are both meaningful and easy to memorize for use across various platforms. However, simplicity and ease are two descriptors that should never be used regarding your passwords. That means the password is hardly protecting your accounts and your assets," said Kelly Merryman, president & COO of Aura. "Strong, unique passwords are the most important — and sometimes only — protection we have against hackers."

Pet names are often widely known and easily searchable on social media or online. In fact, pet parents are often their pets' publicists. Aura's survey found of those who use their pets' names in passwords:

  • 59% have posted a photo of their pet to social media
  • 48% have posted their pet's name on social media
  • 36% of those who have ever posted their pet's name on social media have 500 or more followers on their social accounts

In addition, 63% of parents of children under 18 who have ever owned a pet have used their pet's name as their password, and 52% have posted their pet's name on social media.

Introducing Aura's Spokespets

To call attention to this safety risk, Aura has partnered with four famous pets who are no strangers to sharing their information online. The Aura "Spokespets" will serve as safety ambassadors for the brand, sharing recommendations for pet parents on better ways to show love for their animals and tips to keep the whole family safe online. Aura's inaugural class of Spokespets are:

Promoting Password Hygiene

In addition to pet names, Americans have used notable dates like birthdays or anniversaries (40%), family members' names (34%) and sports teams (22%) as part of their passwords. 

Using personal information that a hacker or scammer can easily find makes an online user vulnerable to cyberattack. These criminals often use automated technology and bots to trial different combinations of personal details and numbers in combination with stolen user IDs to break into and take control of accounts. In fact, one of the FBI's most-wanted cybercriminals suspects that he was caught after federal authorities correctly guessed his password - his cat's name followed by the number "123."

READ MORE: How to prevent cyberbullying with technology

The impact of a targeted attack has a wide blast radius when you consider that nearly half (47%) of pet parents who have used their pet's name as part of their passwords admit that they use the same password for most or all of their online accounts. 23% of this group have shared their frequently-used passwords with people outside their immediate household. 7 in 10 (74%) say they only change their passwords if they are forced to update them.

For pet lovers who don't want to spend their days ideating complex, unique passwords, Aura recommends calling for backup. Aura's platform proactively identifies and prevents online threats. As part of its intelligent safety platform, Aura's password manager stores all your passwords in one secure place and generates unique, strong passwords to secure your online accounts. What's more, Aura will proactively alert you if you have a weak or breached password, and auto-update your credentials on select sites.

For more on Aura's intelligent safety platform and tips on creating stronger passwords, visit aura.com/petpasswords.

Survey Method

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Aura from April 19-21, 2022, among 2,082 adults ages 18+, of whom 1,835 have owned a pet. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact media@aura.com.

Aura, the leader in intelligent safety solutions, provides all-in-one digital protection for consumers. We understand that the online safety needs of each individual are unique and require a personalized solution. By bringing together security, privacy and parental controls on an intelligent platform, Aura makes adaptive and proactive digital safety accessible to everyone. Visit www.aura.com.



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