Why is it so hard for people to remember passwords?

With the Digital Age well underway, nearly 4,000 apps are added to Google Play Store every single day, and well over a million apps are added every single year. The Apple App Store has almost 2 million apps available for download, and it adds new apps all the time. The average smartphone user downloads or opens 10 apps a day and 30 apps a month, meaning they’re forced to create and manage passwords for a multitude of personal accounts. And that’s not all – it’s impossible to escape the multiple-password trap at workplaces as well.

Businesses have been steadily migrating to a cloud-based ecosystem. Apps help businesses make and save money. They often are tailor-made to automate business processes. Apps help convert manual processes, such as surveys, inventories, checklists, tickets, work orders, and inspections. These business apps enable the frictionless processing of information.

 An average business uses as many as 110 apps, on average, each year. While there are numerous passwordless authentication methods that can be employed, passwords are still the commonly preferred way to access an app. This, in turn, increases the number of passwords an average person must remember and manage on a daily basis at both work and home. As a result, they tend to create weaker passwords, which opens up businesses to potential password-based cyber threats.

  A study on passwords

A primary requirement of passwords is that they be unique while also being complex and strong. But, according to researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, people find it difficult to remember the passwords to all of their accounts. The research identified a relationship between passwords and the frequency of their usage—the less often a password was used, the more the chance it had of being forgotten.

 The research also found that users devised ways to circumvent the inherent lack of memorability of their passwords. Among these was using simpler but unique passwords and repeatedly using a single strong password across multiple sites. Both of these solutions created situations where security could be compromised with relative ease. 

 The perils of setting weak passwords 

The use of simpler passwords increases their susceptibility to brute force attacks, while the repetition of passwords makes it easier for it to be leaked via social engineering or similar methods. One such leak happened when Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank fame lost about $400,000 USD when a cybercriminal pretended to be her assistant and faked an email regarding a payment related to real investments.  

Another method often used by app and website users is to write their passwords on sticky notes and stick them next to their computers or around their desks, leaving them vulnerable to shoulder surfing attacks. An easy way out of this problem, according to security experts, is the use of a password manager.

 The solution: Password managers 

Password managers eliminate the need to remember multiple passwords by safely managing your passwords from one safe place. With a password manager, you can save the passwords to all of your accounts, generate strong passwords for new and existing accounts, and access passwords across different devices from different places.

 All you have to do is remember a single master password. This master password unlocks the password vault that protects all of your passwords. This way, you only have to remember one password to access all of your passwords. Password managers also help you safely share passwords with your friends, family, and co-workers.

 Are password managers safe?  

People using password managers don’t need to remember their passwords because password managers safely remember and encrypt their passwords for them. This is why cybersecurity experts believe that not only are password managers safe, but also essential.

 The best password managers employ zero-knowledge architecture to ensure that only the encrypted user data gets stored on the servers. This ensures that the saved passwords can never be accessed by anyone (not even the employees working for your password manager service) except the user who holds the decryption key (master password) to the password vault. 

Even if a password manager were to be compromised in an attack, the attacker will be unable to view or access the passwords in plain text without your account’s master password. The best password management services also offer multi-factor authentication, and other enterprise-grade restrictions based on user and business needs. 

Zoho Vault is an online password manager that helps individuals and teams manage all of their passwords and other sensitive information efficiently. It’s part of Zoho’s suite of applications, which are trusted by millions of customers around the world. If you’re interested in learning more about how you or your organization can benefit from using a password manager, get in touch with our Zoho Vault experts for more product information and a demo.


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