Password Fatigue? Consider a Password Manager

Without getting into specifics about my “level of maturity,” let’s just say I’m wondering if others have ever experienced “Forgotmypassworditis?” It’s happening to me with alarming regularity, so the other day – after wracking my brain for my password to a retail site I had used just last month – I set about to find out what was going on and if I was alone in my situation. Turns out there’s a LOT going on, and no, I’m not.

For starters, I counted how many passwords and PINs I was supposed to be remembering, and it’s well over 25! For a long time, I devised my own scheme to remember my passwords: I’d use one password for financial sites, another for social sites, another one for sites I needed to access for work, and so on. This worked fine until websites started dictating different requirements for their sites. Now, one site wants a minimum of eight characters, another – in the same category! – requires a combination of letters and numbers, while another requires upper and lower case letters, special characters, your shoe size, and you must enter it while standing on one foot, eating salted cashews. Yes, they’re watching. So, my methodology is blown out of the water.

So what do I do now? Out of pure frustration, I researched password solutions and came across an interesting article about password fatigue.

Some highlights:

  • Nearly 3 in 5 (58%) adults have five or more unique online passwords; 30% have 10 or more passwords; 8% have a whopping 21 or more individual passwords.
  • Older people are likely to have more unique passwords than their younger counterparts; people 55 or older on average have 8.2 passwords, whereas millennials (aged 18-34) average only 6.7.
  • Three-quarters of people say they try to create the strongest password possible, using combination of letters and numbers, instead of obvious names like words, especially the all-too-common “password.”
  • Recalling these “strongest” passwords is where people seem to run into trouble; nearly 2 in 5 have to ask for assistance in retrieving their username or password for at least one website per month.
  • Thirty-eight percent of adults think it would be easier to achieve world peace than remember all their passwords; the same percentage would rather clean a toilet or do the dishes than have to create another username and password pop over to this web-site.

Statistics don’t lie; we’re all frustrated with the complexity of passwords as we grapple with technology. But there are solutions that can help. After some research, I installed LastPass, an application that manages your passwords – and all you need to do is create and remember one very strong password, plus one more authenticator. It’s important – and reassuring – to note that LastPass’s free edition has a wide variety of choices for multifactor authentication. That means it will require more than one method of authentication to verify a user’s identity, so if a hacker guesses or steals your master password, he still won’t be able to log in.

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