Study warns that users are just plain old  tired of having to remember so many passwords.

A new study from the North American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has discovered that a large proportion of people they interviewed were experiencing a heightened sense of security fatigue that has led them to ignore cybersecurity warnings, display unsafe computing behaviour, both in work and in their personal lives.

computer password

Mary Theofanos, one of the new study’s authors said: “We weren’t even looking for fatigue in our interviews, but we got this overwhelming feeling of weariness throughout all of the data…. Years ago, you had one password to keep up with at work. Now people are being asked to remember 25 or 30.”

Detailed responses from the study’s subjects revealed that many felt “overwhelmed” by the need to be constantly vigilant for digital threats and the need to always be aware online.

The NIST study involved in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of Americans aged between 20-60. The subjects lived in rural and urban areas and had income that varied between low and well-paying employment.

According to the report: “Participants expressed a sense of resignation, loss of control, fatalism, risk minimization, and decision avoidance, all characteristics of security fatigue.”

Many of the interviewees stated that they were annoyed and tired of being locked out of their accounts, or having to deal with extra security measures such as two-step verification.

Some also, displayed a near sense of fatalism when it came to protecting themselves online, wondering how they could possibly be expected to stay safe when massive corporations that spent huge sums on security were regularly caught out.

Others questioned why they would be specifically targeted by malicious hackers, especially if they did no work for a company that dealt in sensitive information, such as a government department or financial institution.

As a result of the unexpected findings, NIST have commenced a follow up study to explore in greater depth ways to combat security fatigue. You can save yourself from security fatigue by downloading a password manager from FileHippo today!