A new survey says that a vast majority of Americans say they value online safety, but many have habits that compromise the safety of their data and various online accounts—especially the tech-savvy younger generations who grew up during and after the internet revolution.

“These survey results underscore the fact that passwords have simply outlived their utility,” said Andrew Bud, CEO of iProov, which conducted the survey. “You wouldn’t have the same key to your house, your car and every building you ever need to go into. But it’s also not possible to remember different passwords for every single site you use. So, Americans are recycling and sharing passwords because they want a convenient way to access their accounts. Biometric authentication is the modern replacement for keys.”

Americans Aren’t Acing Online Safety

The vast majority (92%) of Americans care about online safety and data privacy. Concern is highest among seniors (Americans 65+) at 97% and declines through the generations to Gen Z (Americans 18-24) at 89%—and it shows.

While many Americans have less than ideal online safety habits, those aged 44 and younger are significantly worse in each category:

Americans who:


Ages 18-24

Ages 25-44

Ages 44+

Recycle a few different passwords for all their online accounts or have just one for everything





Have given their password to someone else so that person could access one of their accounts





Share mobile device password with their partner





Share other passwords with their partner





Many Have Accessed Other People’s Accounts

Younger Americans are also more cavalier than older adults about accessing other people’s accounts—with or without permission. 

A full half of Americans (50%) have accessed someone else’s account using their password. The minority who have done so without permission include: 

  • 9% of Americans younger than 44, compared to just 2% of Americans 45+
  • About twice as many men (7%) as women (4%). 

Sixteen percent of Americans have even used a photo or video of someone to try to gain access to an account using facial recognition. This includes more than a quarter (26%) of Americans aged 25-44 and nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Americans aged 18-24.