Did you know that the average internet user has around 70-80 passwords on their hands? Or that every year we spend somewhere between 7-12 hours trying to remember and reset those passwords?
Our latest research shows that 56% of Americans see password management as a challenge while in the UK that number stands at around 45%. The numbers don’t lie — the password stress phenomenon is very real, and all of us know what password stress is and how it feels.
So, today we will look into increasing cybersecurity demands and the effects they have on our mental health. Read on for tips on stress-free password management.
Password stress: A threat to our mental well-being
Let's admit it — people are fed up with passwords. In fact, not only are they fed up, but they are also getting increasingly anxious. Too many of us are familiar with the feelings of anxiety and despair when trying to remember or reset a password.
A study we conducted through February 23-27, 2023, showcases that most people feel that they have too many accounts as well as passwords, and too often can't remember which password is for which account. Top that with each account asking you to use a unique, strong 12 character password and you’ve got a recipe for causing major mental chaos.
Unsurprisingly, mental chaos induced and further amplified by password stress then leads to anxiety and stress. In the UK, 70% of adults feel that losing a password without an option to reset it is akin to the experience of being laid off, falling ill, or suffering a physical injury. The number is similar for the US responses — 60%.
Because of an increase in cybercriminal activity over the past few years, it is not at all surprising that most respondents in the UK and US seriously worry about data breaches and the security of their personal information.
Getting your sensitive data exposed in this day and age can cause panic, fear, anxiety, and insecurity. And that is entirely reasonable. Just think about it: today we can no longer confidently claim that our digital lives are just mere extensions of our real ones.
These days, we work, shop, bank, and interact online. The online world is just as real as the “real” one. So, is it at all surprising that keeping up with the ever increasing and changing cybersecurity demands and knowing that cybercrime is the most lucrative criminal endeavor on the planet can be a stressful experience? It seems today cyber security is as much about the safety of our digital valuables as it is about our mental health.
Password stress: Just what the cybercrook ordered
Too often, password stress leads to poor account management, which in turn makes things a whole lot easier for cybercrooks. To cope with the increasing number of passwords, we often take the easiest route and reuse the same easy-to-remember password for multiple accounts — or place sticky notes on computer monitors and share login details without thinking about security first.
Our survey revealed that a whopping 63% of respondents have reused passwords across multiple accounts. Cybercriminals rely on such behavior and prey upon the vulnerabilities caused by password reuse. Reusing passwords provides cybercriminals with a single point of entry. This means that once cybercrooks get hold of at least one of your online accounts, like an email, they more than likely will be able to access the rest without much trouble.
How to overcome password stress
Coming up with a bunch of different, complex passwords is no walk in the park. It's stressful. It’s frustrating. Remembering them all is borderline impossible and anxiety-inducing unless you're Joey DeGrandis (that's the guy with the perfect memory). But overcoming password stress and keeping your accounts secure doesn't have to be complicated — that's what password managers are for.
Fortunately, with the NordPass password manager you can minimize the anxiety associated with password management, making it easier to keep your accounts secure without added stress.
With NordPass you can create random, complex passwords and store them in a secure vault. You no longer need to remember any of those passwords because you can use autofill to log in to your online accounts with just a few clicks. In addition to passwords, you can safely store secure notes, personal information, and credit card details. Everything you keep in NordPass is fully encrypted to ensure complete protection, and you can instantly access it all across multiple devices.
Here are a few steps that you can take to minimize password reset operations and ensure that all of your online accounts are secure at all times.
Do not reuse passwords. Using the same password across multiple accounts exponentially increases the risk of unauthorized access. To overcome this issue, use unique passwords for every online account. A password manager such as NordPass can help you keep track of unique passwords. For instance, with the built-in Password Health tool you can instantly identify weak, old, and reused passwords in your vault.
Update your passwords when there’s a need. Say you get an email that one of the social media platforms has experienced a breach once again. To maintain security of your account, you should immediately change your password to a completely new and unique one. With NordPass you can even check whether any of your sensitive data has been compromised in a data leak, using the Data Breach Scanner.
Use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security to your accounts, requiring additional information and steps to access your account. Usually, this includes biometric data (such as fingerprint or facial recognition) or a one-time code sent to your phone. By enabling MFA on your accounts as well as NordPass, even if someone were to guess your password, they would still be unable to access your account without the additional authentication factor.
It is important to understand that the growing issue of password stress not only jeopardizes our mental well-being but also exposes us to increased cybersecurity risks. As the digital realm continues to merge with our everyday lives, it's imperative to confront the mental strain and anxiety associated with managing countless intricate passwords. Fortunately, password managers such as NordPass provide a user-friendly solution, enabling secure storage, generation, and autofill of passwords without any hassle.
By adopting password managers, embracing multi-factor authentication, and remaining vigilant, we can effectively combat password stress while simultaneously strengthening our online security, which in turn contributes to a healthier state of mind.