How Memory Anxiety Can Influence Password Security Behavior
Woods, N., & Siponen, M. (2024). How Memory Anxiety Can Influence Password Security Behavior. Computers and Security, 137, Article 103589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cose.2023.103589
Published inComputers and Security
© 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Password reuse and modification are insecure password behaviors that are becoming increasingly prevalent as users are obliged to remember more passwords to access various digital services. Many users adopt these risky behaviors as a memory strategy in the belief that they have too many passwords for their memories to cope with. One important avenue in password research is metamemory, which encompasses the knowledge and understanding of memory capabilities and strategies. Previous research on password metamemory has examined the role that metamemory plays in memory performance (i.e., how well memory performs) and password recall. However, no previous research to date has investigated whether password reuse and modification are adopted as memory strategies due to an increase in knowledge and understanding of metamemory. To address this gap, two survey studies (Study1: N=50, Study 2: N=303) were implemented to examine the role that password metamemory plays in reusing and modifying passwords. Our findings suggest that of all metamemory constructs, users’ anxiety regarding their perceived ability to remember passwords can influence them to reuse and modify their passwords. These findings have potentially important implications because with an enhanced understanding of how users’ anxiety towards remembering passwords influences their security behavior, this could identify means of reducing password reuse and modification, thereby increasing password security and ultimately reduce some of the consequences of insecure password behaviors. ...
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Additional information about fundingThe research was supported by the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
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Woods, Naomi; Siponen, Mikko (Academic Press, 2018)Passwords are the most common authentication mechanism, that are only increasing with time. Previous research suggests that users cannot remember multiple passwords. Therefore, users adopt insecure password practices, such ...
Woods, Naomi (University of Jyväskylä, 2016)Multiple passwords are an increasing security issue that will only get worse with time. One of the major factors that compromise multiple passwords is users’ memory, and the behaviors they adopt to compensate for its ...
Woods, Naomi (Association for Information Systems, 2019)There are many good and bad aspects to password authentication. They are mostly without cost, securing many accounts and systems, and allowing users access from anywhere in the world. However, passwords can elicit dark ...
Woods, Naomi; Siponen, Mikko (Academic Press, 2019)Passwords are the most frequently used authentication mechanism. However, due to increased password numbers, there has been an increase in insecure password behaviors (e.g., password reuse). Therefore, new and innovative ...
Woods, Naomi (AIS Electronic Library (AISeL), 2017)Password memorability is a significant problem that is getting worse as the numbers grow. As a direct result of memory limitations, adopted insecure password practices have substantial consequences as organizations lose ...