More than a quarter of Britons feel more vulnerable to online hackers during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

The data from biometric authentication provider iProov also showed that almost three-quarters of UK consumers polled believe the need to authenticate identity online is more important now than ever before, while an overwhelming majority (88%) believe online security threats are growing.

However many concerning habits remain: less than half regularly change their online password and just 28% do this once a year or more.

A third admitted to only changing passwords when forced to by online brands and services; just 8% use the strong password generator provided; and 1 in 10 use the exact same password for everything.

Almost half (49%) of respondents admitted to accessing someone else’s online account using their password, whilst 41% share their phone passwords with family members.

A surprising 17% have even used a photo or video of someone else in an attempt to access their accounts using facial recognition.

Andrew Bud, CEO at iProov, said: “Our research shows that passwords have simply outlived their utility. Enforcing ever more complex passwords tortures people into workarounds.

“People misuse things that aren’t usable. It’s a gift to hackers and it disrupts commerce. We need to make it easier for people to access services and keep their data secure.

“People are recycling and sharing passwords but this leaves them exposed and vulnerable. The time has come to adopt alternatives. Good biometric authentication combines effortless usability with the security to safeguard society’s most sensitive personal data.”