Survey Finds Vast Majority of Americans Memorize or Write Passwords on Paper
Results Indicate Consumers Are Passive When It Comes to Online Account Passwords According to Password Boss
MINNEAPOLIS – July 29, 2015 – Despite the fact that four out of ten companies were hacked in 2014, most Americans still keep track of their passwords in unsafe ways. According to a Harris Interactive survey of 2,030 U.S. adults conducted for Password Boss1, the most common method that American consumers use to manage passwords for their online accounts is simply their memory (63 percent). Two-in-five say that they write them down on paper, while one-quarter allow their browser to save their passwords for them. Only eight percent use a password manager product.
The survey also found that 59 percent admit to reusing passwords because it is too hard to remember them, and that more than half of Americans (54 percent) agree that they need to change their password habits.
“The results from the survey indicate that, in general, consumers are very passive and somewhat contradictory when it comes to the management of their online account passwords, despite the increasingly large and disruptive impact that data breaches have on consumers’ lives,” said Password Boss founder and CEO Steve Wise. “The fact that most consumers really have no system to manage their accounts other than memory or pen and paper suggests these methods are easier than any tool available. Our mission is to help consumers change their password habits with the easiest-to-use app for anyone that has trouble remembering their passwords.”
A number of differences exist in the way consumers manage their passwords by demographic groups.
- Younger consumers, age 18-24, are the most likely to use memory as their primary way of managing passwords (74 percent for males and 76 percent for females).
- Older consumers, age 65+, are most likely to write them down (59 percent for males and 67 percent for females).
- Consumers with children in their household are more likely to rely on memory than those without (71 percent versus 59 percent).
Differences also exist in the use of a password manager product by demographic groups.
- Males age 34-44 are the most likely to report using a product (17 percent), significantly higher than males either 18-34 (who may not have as many passwords to manage yet) or 45-54 (who may not be as immersed in technology).
- Differences also exist by household income, with wealthier individuals more likely to use a product, and between married and unmarried consumers, with married couples more likely to use a product since they might have more accounts to manage than those who are not.
The degree to which consumers reuse passwords changes as they get older. When asked the degree to which they agreed with the statement, “Even though I know it is risky, I reuse passwords because it is too hard to remember them,” 70 percent of consumers age 18-24 agreed, while only 51 percent of consumers age 65+ agreed. In addition, the propensity to reuse passwords is highest among wealthier consumers (63 percent versus 59 percent overall).
Password Boss – Password Manager and Digital Wallet
Password Boss is a free password manager and digital wallet available for download on Windows 8/7/Vista/XP-based PCs and tablets, all iOS devices and all Android devices. A premium (paid) version with features such as online backups, 2-step verification and unlimited, secure password sharing is available for $29 per year. Complete pricing details can be found at https://www.passwordboss.com/pricing/.
Password Boss is also available at no charge to charitable organizations, schools, universities and religious organizations.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.