We all create passwords in order to protect our devices, online accounts and internet connections. It’s a necessary move in a time when cyberthreats are prevalent. It just so happens that people are taking the issue of cyberthreats particularly seriously. According to a February 2020 survey by password management platform NordPass, the average number of passwords created by internet users ranged from 70 to 80. The survey involved 1500 Nordpass users and was conducted before the global lockdown catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, according to the same platform, the number has risen to 100 during lockdown.
This rise might be due to an increase in app downloads during lockdown. Chad Hammond, security expert at NordPass, has stated that “many online services have seen a spike in usage during the lockdown”. He explains, “As people spent more time indoors, they looked for more digital entertainment, shopped online, and used other online resources. It comes as no surprise that the number of passwords has grown.”.
There is, however, a possibility that the numerous passwords being used are in fact rather weak. Early in 2020 Nordpass published a list of the 200 most common passwords, which ranged from number combinations to popular female names. This showcases the fact that people can be a bit negligent when it comes to creating strong passwords. Hammond has hypothesised why people use so many weak passwords, saying “they simply have too many to remember. So, it’s hardly surprising that people use either very simple passwords or have a few and reuse them for all accounts.”
As a response to this apparent negligence, Hammond offered some advice to ensure that accounts are kept secure:
Downloading multiple applications is popular. This is understandable given how smartphones and other devices have made communication so easy, not to mention everyday tasks like ordering food. However, if you have a lot of accounts then make sure the passwords protecting them are strong. You don’t want to fall victim to data hacks.