Why You Can’t Ever Remember Your Email Password

email password
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We can all collectively agree that remembering email passwords is a massive pain so why can’t we once and for all find a way to keep just one burnt in our memory?

New research by NordPass, a password manager, on Google search queries has revealed that 48 per cent of Aussies tend to forget their email passwords most frequently. The second most searched query (15 per cent) was on resetting passwords for various operational systems, followed by resetting passwords for Google accounts (12 per cent). Queries on other password types such as social media and entertainment accounts was all below 10 per cent.

I can’t say the results surprise me. Every time I set my email password, I tell myself this is it — this one’s going to stick. But after hundreds of ‘forgot password’ clicks, I’ve yet to keep one close to me. Funnily, the only password I can ever remember is the one I use for my Netflix account, which says a lot.

Chad Hammond, a security expert at NordPass, explained why people have a tendency to forget their email passwords.

“It [might be] their password is saved on their computer and they don’t need to enter it every time they log in. If they actually had to, they would have trouble remembering it. This could explain why so many people search for ways to reset their email password,” Hammond said in a media release.

A study conducted by Rutgers-New Brunswick and Aalto University in Finland has another theory. According to the study, it’s not the complexity of the password that makes it hard to remember it’s how often we anticipate using it.

Example: You're far more likely to remember a complicated password if you know you'll be using it frequently, and you are less likely to remember a simple password if you don't expect to use it very often.

“We propose that human memory naturally adapts according to an estimate of how often a password will be needed, such that often-used, important passwords are less likely to be forgotten,” the paper explained.

A suggestion from the researchers stated that websites should give users more reason to log in so they can remember their passwords.

“Websites focus on telling users if their passwords are weak or strong, but they do nothing to help people remember passwords,” Janne Lindqvist, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rutger’s University and co-author of the study said.

Regardless of why you can’t remember your password, we suggest using a password manager to make your life easier. Just imagine having to reset your password when you’re travelling and don’t have access to your home sim to get your two-pin verification code. And you’ve also forgotten the password to your recovery account. And you can’t remember any of your old passwords or security questions. That’s no good at all.

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