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Sex or cybersecurity? Nearly four in 10 say they’d rather be secure

If given the choice between cybersecurity and sexual satisfaction, nearly 40 percent of Americans say they’d make a rather surprising choice.

They’d rather give up sex for a year than live in fear of getting hacked.

According to a new survey of 2,000 American adults conducted by password management app Dashlane, nearly four in 10 Americans (or 39 percent) say they’d be willing to go celibate for a year if in return, they could confidently avoid hacking, identity theft, or account breaching. This is particularly true among women, 44 percent of whom say they’d sacrifice sex (as opposed to just 34 percent of men) for online peace of mind. Whether this is a testament to the importance of cybersecurity in our digital age or a growing apathy towards sex has yet to be determined.

To be fair, it is likely the former, as reports of hacks or security breaches seem to make headlines on a daily basis. And while there are numerous tips and tricks available regarding password safety and security, Americans consistently put themselves at risk by using strings like “Password” to secure some of their most crucial data.

“The nature of online security has changed dramatically. Five to 10 years ago, cybersecurity was about protecting devices with antivirus software. Today, data isn’t on our devices, but in the cloud — and the best line of defense we have to protect this data are passwords,” said Emmanuel Schalit, CEO of Dashlane. “This survey data continues to highlight an unfortunate trend — even with breaches happening to everyone from companies and celebrities to consumers, people are continuing to engage in risky password behavior.”

What kind of risky behavior? For one, Dashlane notes, there’s a lot of password sharing going on in the United States, which may seem innocuous enough between two friends, but can often lead to compromising situations. According to the new poll, 45 percent of Americans have either trusted someone with — or been entrusted with — a password. Surprisingly, a whole 9 percent of those surveyed shared their banking/investment/student loan account passwords, and 6 percent shared information about their insurance provider accounts.

Perhaps more alarming is the finding that young Americans are more willing to share their passwords than their older compatriots — in fact, 64 percent of millennials say they’ve shared or been shared on a password, whereas only 37 percent of those older than 35 have said the same.

It’s not just sex that people are willing to give up in favor of cybersecurity. According to Dashlane’s study, 41 percent of Americans would rather give up their favorite food for a month than have to reset all their passwords to all their online accounts.

Of course, all this should be taken with a rather hefty grain of salt considering that Dashlane has significant skin in the game when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, the app claims to offer a solution to the problem of password fatigue by allowing users to import passwords into a secure digital vault, or create a password within a browser. So it comes as little surprise that the company is now reinforcing the importance of security by comparing it to, well, sex.

All the same, maintaining robust cybersecurity practices is never a bad thing, so you might want to change your password from your birthday or your middle name sooner rather than later.

Updated on 11-17-2016 by Lulu Chang: Added details about Dashlane app.

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