Nearly 40% of Americans Would Give Up Sex for a Year in Exchange for Better Online Security

11/23/2016 04:51 pm ET

Would you sacrifice sex as a trade for online security? Because 40 percent of Americans said they would do just that.

According to a recent survey of over 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Dashlane, an online password management and identity service, almost 4 in 10 Americans (39% to be exact) would go without making love for one entire year if it meant they'd never have to worry about identity theft, being hacked, or losing an online account ever again.

Over two-thirds of adults in the United States shop online at least once a month and many others use the internet to bank, pay bills, or conduct other important transactions. And when you consider that 87 percent of U.S. adults use the internet, it makes sense that cyber security is one of the biggest concerns today. But just how far some people would go if it meant they'd never have to deal with identify theft will probably surprise you may be surprising to many.

And sex wasn't all. 40 percent of people also said they'd give up their favorite food for one month in the name of peace of mind online.

If all of this sounds drastic, the truth is that it probably is. The single biggest thing people can do to help keep their online identity safe is probably the easiest – a solid password.

10 years ago, anti-virus was the primary method of online security. But since the Internet has left the desktop and is on laptops, tablets, and cell phones, and since so many people now use the cloud for backing up their sensitive data, following proper password protocol is critical.

Of course, having a solid password doesn't do a lot of good if you're giving it out to people. And nearly 50% of people have shared a password to an e-mail account or to an account like Netflix with a friend or had a friend share theirs (which is a surprisingly high number when you consider that 4 out of 10 people said that sharing an online social media password was more intimate than sex).

While sharing a Netflix password might seem harmless (and won’t land you in jail), it really is a danger because the vast majority of times, people use the same password (or some variation) for almost every online platform. So when you share one, you share them all.

A look at the password habits of Americans showed that about 30% have used a pet’s name, almost 25% have used a family member's name, 21% a birthday, and 10% each have used an anniversary, a sports team, an address, or a phone number. So if you just know a few basic, personal details about someone, you've got a decent chance at cracking their password.

The strongest passwords are random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. It might not be the easiest to remember, but it's the toughest to crack.

The study also revealed some interesting data in that younger Americans (those age 18 to 34) who grew up online are far more trusting with passwords than older generations, and  married people are less likely to part with passwords than single people.

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