Suffering from Password Fatigue? Here's How to Beat It

Password Fatigue

The password's flaws as an authentication mechanism became apparent years ago, and to try and minimize the impact they have on us, software developers and vendors have been implementing a number of different features and mechanisms. Some are more obvious than others.

Making passwords more secure

When you enter your password, for example, you usually see asterisks or black dots instead of the actual symbols. This serves as a protection against shoulder surfing attacks.

It's not all about how we enter our password, either. It's also about what our password is. As we've mentioned numerous times on these pages, people frequently refuse to put in the effort to create strong passwords which is why websites and organizations try to force them to do it.

They tell you that your password must be a certain length, that it must contain a set variety of characters, and they won't let you sign up for an account if you don't comply with all the requirements. In addition to this, they know that hackers are after your passwords and might just manage to get them. That's why, some organizations enforce frequent password changes, hoping that even if the crooks get their hands on your login data, by the time they get around to using it, it would be too late.

All the while, you have the security experts who keep telling you that you should have long, complex, and unique passwords for all your accounts – something most of you clearly don't pay much attention to.

The unwanted side effects

All these measures are taken with the best of intentions, but they do backfire to a certain extent. Typing your password without seeing it should keep it away from prying eyes, but the process itself is annoying. Mistakes happen way too often which is why when you set up a new password or change an old one, you usually need to enter it twice. This is even more annoying.

The strength requirement rules are an even bigger pain. They serve a good purpose in theory, but vendors frequently get carried away. What's more, they're not always explicitly stated which turns the tedious, time-consuming process of creating a password into an even bigger nuisance. And as for the password expiration policies that some organizations follow, it is arguable whether they work at all. What is beyond any doubt is that they put even more stress on the user.

Speaking of stress on the user, many people have more than 100 online accounts these days and not surprisingly, security specialists are having a really hard time convincing them to create a unique, reasonably strong password for each and every one.

All in all, creating an online account and logging in to it should be something trivial and simple, but with so many things to think about, it's turning into a nightmare. It's a nightmare that causes what is commonly known as "password fatigue."

The human brain just isn't capable of reliably creating, storing, and managing all these passwords. When users hear that passwords should consist of a wide variety of characters and that login credentials should be updated every other month, they get even more frustrated. People create, reuse, and put simple passwords on sticky notes because that's their instinctive reaction to all the pressure coming from vendors, security specialists, and cybercriminals.

Beating password fatigue

To some extent, you can relieve some of the burden by not signing up for every website you visit, and this is actually something you should consider for many other reasons. Taking the "no password, no problem" approach can never really solve the problem, though. In fact, on your own, reversing the effects of password fatigue is more or less impossible. If you stand any chance of overcoming it, you need extra help.

Thanks to its useful features, our Cyclonis Password Manager can be of massive assistance. First, it will store and encrypt all your passwords in one central vault which means that you are free to forget them. Accessing them is only possible with your master password – the only password you'll need to remember. The built-in password generator will create complex new passwords for you in milliseconds, and with the browser extension, you won't need to worry about typing them because it will do it for you.

Password fatigue is a relatively new phenomenon that was spawned by the fact that security and ease of use rarely go hand-in-hand. With tools like the Cyclonis Password Manager, however, this is finally possible.

December 14, 2018

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