EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders have the best password security in the country, according to a study recently conducted by Casino.org.
The nationwide study, which was completed in September, analyzed the “prevailing password practices” of 2,000 Americans.
Those password practices included how often they reuse a password (or a variation of the same password) across several accounts, whether they use auto-generated passwords, how many characters their most-used password has and how frequently they update their password.
The analysts then used a weighted scale based on their responses to give each state a score from zero to 100.
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Rhode Island ranked highest for password security with a perfect score of 100. The study found that 12.5% of Rhode Island respondents reported reusing the same password across several accounts, which is a practice that cybersecurity experts recommend against.
Half of the state’s respondents use auto-generated passwords, which are generally seen as more secure, and 12.5% change their passwords every few months.
Louisiana ranked second in the nation with a score of 83.62, outperforming Rhode Island in only character counts (experts recommend at least 12) and password update frequency. Maine, Maryland and New Mexico rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin ranked the worst in the nation with a score of 0. The study found that 80% of Wisconsin respondents admitted to reusing passwords or using variations of the same password across several accounts.
Oklahoma ranked second-to-last at 1.04, while Mississippi (1.79), Alabama (3.94) and Nevada (6.26) filled the rest of the bottom five slots.
The study did not collect enough data to provide scores for Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.
Overall, 73.6% of respondents admitted to recycling their passwords across various accounts, while another 79.1% confessed to using variations of their most-used password. The study also revealed that 33.3% use auto-generated passwords, and nearly half rely on a password manager to organize and securely access their accounts efficiently.
The average age of those who participated in the study was 39.2 years old, and the representative sample was comprised of 48.8% male, 48.8% female, 1.7% nonbinary, 0.4% transgender and 0.3% other.