Struggling with password overload? You're not alone

(Image credit: Shutterstock / vladwel)
Audio player loading…

Remembering all your various online account details can be difficult especially without a password manager (opens in new tab), and new research from NordPass (opens in new tab) has revealed that the average user now has 25 percent more passwords than they did before the pandemic began.

Back in February of this year, the company conducted a survey that showed the average user had around 70-80 passwords. However, a new survey, conducted after countries around the world went into lockdown during the pandemic, now shows that the average user has around 100 passwords.

NordPass believes that users may have downloaded more apps or signed up for new services during the lockdown and this could account for the increase in passwords. At the same time though, many people downloaded new apps while working from home (opens in new tab) due to requirements from their employers, according to another survey conducted by the company during March.

“Many online services have seen a spike in usage during the lockdown," noted NordPass security expert Chad Hammond. "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.”

Password overload

As 100 passwords is a lot of information to memorize, it's clear why many users reuse passwords or create simple, easy to remember passwords for their online accounts. In fact, NordPass published a list of the 200 most common passwords (opens in new tab) earlier this year, showing that most people don't put that much time or effort into creating strong, complex passwords.

Hammond also commented on this trend, saying: “We now partly understand why people use easy-to-guess passwords — 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.”

In order to maintain good password hygiene online, NordPass recommends that users begin by reviewing all of their online accounts and deleting the ones they no longer use. Once this is complete, they should then update all of their passwords and only use unique and complicated ones to protect their accounts.

Additionally, users should enable two-factor authentication (2FA (opens in new tab)) when they can and download and set up a password manager to generate and store passwords.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.