Do you have ‘password rage’? A third of people admit to tantrums over password frustration

Passwords are a decades-only authentication method, designed in the 1960s to authorise on-site users in fixed and secure locations. So it seems hardly surprisingly that in our increasingly complex technology environment, many would gladly welcome their demise- a third of us admit to suffering from 'password rage,' according to a snapshot poll taken by identity management firm Centrify at this week's Infosecurity Europe conference.

The findings reveal that users are becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to remember different passwords to access online accounts, with a quarter (25%) saying they forget their password at least once a day – and 5% admitting they forget all the time.

> See also: If the password is dead, what's next? Why it's all in the tap

Only 22% of those who took part in the poll claim they never forget their passwords.

But the issue extends beyond just a security hazard- one in six people admitted they cause disruption in the office by screaming or shouting if they can't remember their password, with one in seven moaning at work colleagues. People also variously admit to even more dramatic shows of frustration such as crying, running off and slamming the door, swearing or banging their head on the desk.

'We’ve all heard of road rage and air rage, but now there’s a new one on the block – password rage,' explained Barry Scott, Centrify CTO EMEA at Centrify. 'As if we don’t have enough frustrations in our lives, passwords are an added irritant, but also an essential part of what we need in order to access online accounts and applications both at work and in our personal lives.'

The frustrations with passwords are clear, says Scott, and the real problems arise when we start to adopt poor password practices out of frustration because we cannot remember them, like using the same ones again and again, or using easy-to-remember ones like ‘password.’

In a survey conducted by Centrify last year among UK consumers, a quarter claimed they have more than 21 active online profiles, and nearly half (42%) create at least one new online account profile every week – more than 50 a year. In fact, 14% believe they will have 100+ passwords to deal with in the next five years.

As Clare Rees, director of marketing EMEA for Ping Identity explained, discussion from this year's Infosecurity Europe has shown that cyber security has grown to encompass a much broader remit than ever before. Looking at trends mentioned under the ‘#infosec15’ hashtag with an in-house analytics tool, Ping Identity found 'cloud' to be the number two most talked-about topic among security professionals, second only to 'cyber security.'

> See also: The essential password management checks that can help a business stay breach free

'The emergence of cloud technologies and the Internet of Things is impacting the way we think about how our information is stored and secured,' said Rees. 'Changing the way we think about access management and how we authenticate our devices with identity, will be a crucial challenge for the application security community in the coming years.'

'Next year, we hope to see further discussion around how securing identities must be at the heart of the Internet of Thing,' she added. 'In the age of multiple device management, juggling numerous passwords is simply no longer fit for purpose. The next generation of authentication must be multi-factored and tailored to the user.'

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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