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'password Fatigue' Haunts Internet Masses

A group of laptop computer users.

Passwords have proliferated so much that it's a daily struggle for users to cope with dozens of them, often across multiple devices.

Credit: Agence France-Press

Millions of Internet users know that passwords are not safe when hackers can steal them en masse from banks, email services, retailers, or social media sites that fail to fully protect their servers. However, passwords have proliferated so much that it is a daily struggle for users to cope with dozens of them, a syndrome known as password fatigue.

"As people are increasingly accessing websites from smartphones and tablets, typing passwords is becoming an ever bigger pain," says Confident Technologies' Sarah Needham.

Last year, Norton conducted a 24-nation survey and found that 40 percent of users do not use complex passwords or fail to change their passwords on a regular basis.

Google is developing a system that involves users tapping their devices with personalized coded finger rings or inserting unique ID cards into the USB ports of their computers.

The FIDO Alliance is pushing an open source system in which websites would ask smartphone users to identify themselves by placing their fingertips on their touchscreens. "These [biometric] technologies are coming to a place where they are highly mature, cost effective, and in a position to roll out into the consumer market today," says FIDO's Ramesh Kesanupalli.

From Agence France-Presse
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