To commemorate World Password Day, Onfido has released the results of a survey that shows just how onerous passwords have become for the average consumer. The survey is based on the responses of 4,000 account holders in the US, the UK, France, and Germany, and found that many people would rather experience true physical pain (or some other form of discomfort) than come up with a unique password for each account.
Of course, some of that likely has to do with the fact that the average person now has as many as 100 passwords. Examples of things that people would rather do than create that many unique ones include taxes (17 percent), watching paint dry (another 17 percent), getting a root canal (10 percent), and getting a colonoscopy (nine percent).
Those figures also help to explain why many people are so enthusiastic about biometrics, with the majority (58 percent) indicating that they would use biometrics for all of their accounts if it was an option. As it stands, the same number of people believe that passwords will be phased out entirely by 2030. Forty-one percent believe that the switch will happen even sooner, and that passwords will be gone within the next five years.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to make it to that point, especially since passwords remain one of the most vulnerable authentication methods. Half of the respondents are still reusing passwords (a full 17 percent reused one password for every account), or choosing passwords that are based on personal information (such as hobbies, birthdays, or the names of family members) that a hacker might be able to guess.
The survey did find that people were more likely to select strong password for their bank account, though less than half listed complexity as their priority for virtually every other type of account. For instance, just over a third of the respondents felt it was important to have a complex and secure password for online health services or the software they use at work, with others preferring instead to have passwords that are simple and easy to remember.
“Passwords are an insufficient form of authentication because the onus lies on consumers to remember them and ensure their complexity,” said Onfido Personal Identity Director Sarah Munro. “A better, more secure path forward is for organizations to invest in biometrics-based technology that can offer a more convenient and secure experience for consumers.”
May 7, 2021 – by Eric Weiss