Survey Reveals Impact of ‘Data Breach Fatigue’ on Consumer Password Habits

Four in Five Americans Surveyed by Password Boss Are Less Confident Companies Can Keep Their Data Safe

MINNEAPOLIS – August 5, 2015 – Cyber attacks on companies resulting in data breaches have increased in volume and frequency in the last year. Eighty-one percent of 2,030 consumers surveyed by Harris Interactive for Password Boss1 agree that this increased frequency has made them less confident in companies’ ability to keep their digital identity safe. In addition, only 13 percent of consumers changed all of their passwords after hearing news of recent online data breaches.

“Most consumers can’t turn on the news, read their favorite news site or scroll through their social media feeds without learning about a major data breach,” said Steve Wise, CEO of Password Boss. “This has led to a phenomenon called ‘data breach fatigue’ that causes consumers to shrug their shoulders when they hear about the next incident. We wanted to understand the potential cause of this and its impact on consumers’ password habits.”

“Despite being concerned about the ability of companies to keep their digital identities safe, most consumers have not changed their account passwords in response to news about online data breaches,” continued Wise. “This is because they are either misinformed about the security of their passwords, incorrectly assuming that they are safe because they picked strong passwords; are generally passive about their accounts by only changing passwords when prompted; or feel it is too much hassle or takes too much time to change them.”

The reasons why 87 percent of consumers did not change all of their passwords after hearing of a data breach are varied. Most commonly, consumers report that they only change their passwords when it is required (40 percent) or that they feel their passwords are strong and secure enough (37 percent). A sizeable portion of consumers also report that it’s too much of a hassle to remember new passwords (21 percent), they forget new passwords after they create them (14 percent), or it takes too much time (11 percent).


Consumer groups who are more likely to report that they did not change their passwords because it’s too much of a hassle to remember them include consumers age 18-34 (25 percent) and 45-54 (24 percent), female consumers age 18-34 (28 percent), and those with some college education (23 percent) or college graduates (25 percent).

Parents with children are the most likely group to report that forgetting their passwords is a reason they did not change them (20 percent). Younger consumers (20 percent) and those that are employed (16 percent) are also more likely to admit to forgetting passwords as a reason for not changing them.

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About Password Boss

Password Boss is the free password manager and digital wallet designed for anyone who has trouble remembering their passwords. By securely storing personal information and synchronizing it across all devices, Password Boss is the easiest way for people to safely login to websites, access their accounts and shop online. A premium version of the Password Boss app is available with features such as online backups, 2-step authentication and unlimited, secure password sharing. The app is available for Windows PCs and tablets, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. Founded in 2014 and privately funded, Password Boss is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.

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1 Abbreviated Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Password Boss from January 23-27, 2015 among 2,030 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

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