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Kenzie Wilson

2024/01/02

The psychology of password sharing: Why do people do it?

Don’t lie. We have all done it.

We have all slipped our close friends our Hulu password so that they can watch the latest show. Why make them pay $7.99 a month when you can just share? Sharing is caring, right?

Netflix recently started cracking down on these password sharers and other platforms won’t be far behind. Let’s dive into what password sharing is, why people are so quick to share passwords, and why it can be detrimental to companies.

What is password sharing?

Password sharing involves giving your login credentials to someone else in order to access your subscription, app, or service. This can happen on any website from streaming, publishing, work tools, and more.

Why do people share passwords?

People share passwords for a multitude of reasons. The most common reason is to save money. Rather than everyone paying $7.99 for Hulu, only one person has to pay and then provides access to everyone else for free.

A second and almost equally common reason is convenience. This is especially true in work environments. Rather than setting up an additional seat it is much easier and faster to just pass along an email and password combination.

Where do people share passwords?

Many people share passwords in their personal lives for things such as streaming, delivery services, and more. According to a survey conducted by The Zebra, video streaming services are impacted by password sharing the most with delivery services coming in second.

Which streaming service password is shared the most

Another common place for password sharing to occur is in the workplace. Whether it is to maintain a specific seat number or just out of convenience. According to a survey of 122 participants conducted by Joseph Kay, 20% of respondents reported sharing their passwords with colleagues.

Students also account for a large amount of password sharers. Oftentimes sharing passwords to homework helpers, e-learning platforms, and more.

What type of people share passwords?

We have already discussed why people share passwords so let’s dive in the types of people who are more likely to share.

  1. Age
    In a study conducted by Whitty, PhD, Doodson, Creese, PhD, Hodges, PhD, it was found that younger individuals are more likely to share passwords. This could be attributed to the fact that younger people are online more and have more internet savvy friends and family to share passwords with.
    Additionally, younger individuals appear to be less concerned about their online privacy. For instance, according to a study done by The Zebra only 11% of 18 - 24 year olds are concerned about identity theft with less than 4% being concerned about being hacked.
  2. Knowledge
    It was found that knowledge of cybersecurity had little impact on whether individuals share passwords or not. Those who understand the potential consequences of password sharing are no less likely to share.
  3. Perseverance
    It was found that there is a strong correlation between the personality trait perseverance and account sharing. Individuals who are able to stay engaged in tasks until completion are less likely to share passwords than those who can’t.

What can you do to prevent password sharing on your platform?

As we have mentioned, password sharing is increasingly common amongst friends, family, and even colleagues. Companies must take extensive measures to safeguard their content, data, revenue, and service.

With Rupt, companies can track a multitude of user signals to accurately detect password sharers. From there companies can engage the user with an on-brand challenge that will ask the user to either verify that they are the account owner or to create their own paid account.

This enables companies to have full control over their password prevention efforts with fully customizable elements. To learn more about how Rupt can help you reclaim your lost revenue, schedule a demo here.