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What happens when couples who share passwords break up?

Posted at 2:34 PM, Feb 17, 2022

Research shows that it's not uncommon for couples to share login information for their favorite websites.

According to encryption service Express VPN, nearly 80% of Americans share passwords with their significant other. That includes email, social media and the most common streaming services.

But what happens to those accounts if the relationship ends? Cybersecurity experts say that couples who don't sort it out could be at risk.

"Besides the awkwardness of changing your password and so on, the fact that you have even less control over who has access to your password brings even more risk to this particular issue," said Vahid Behzadan, an assistant professor of computer and data science at the University of New Haven.

In the case of a streaming service, an ex could share the password with several people, leaving a person without access to the account.

Behzadan says many people also tend to use the same password across multiple accounts, putting whatever information is stored there at risk. He doesn't recommend sharing passwords even for the most trusting of couples.

"They're using devices that are not under your control, and those devices may be compromised. It can be their cell phone, it can be their laptop that they take to work," Behzadan said.

For those couples who do share passwords, Behzadan says to make sure every account has a different password. He also suggests keeping track by using a password manager.