The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has warned that the seemingly never-ending hacks on major organisations and prompts to change passwords has caused 'security fatigue'.
"After updating your password for the umpteenth time, have you resorted to using one you know you'll remember because you've used it before? Have you ever given up on an online purchase because you just didn't feel like creating a new account?" asked NIST.
"If you have done any of those things, it might be the result of ‘security fatigue'. It exposes online users to risk and costs businesses money in lost customers."
Cognitive psychologist and NIST report co-author Brian Stanton said that the idea of people essentially becoming exhausted from too many security warnings had big implications.
"The finding that the general public is suffering from security fatigue is important because it has implications in the workplace and in people's everyday life," said cognitive psychologist and NIST report co-author Brian Stanton.
"It is critical because so many people bank online, and healthcare and other valuable information is being moved to the internet. If people can't use security, they are not going to, and then we and our nation won't be secure."
The issue of choosing a password was also cited as one of the most likely activities to cause security fatigue.. People keep using 'Password' as a password, for example, but the results of the study surprised the researchers.
"We weren't even looking for fatigue in our interviews, but we got this overwhelming feeling of weariness throughout all of the data," explained computer scientist and report co-author Mary Theofanos.
"Years ago, you had one password to keep up with at work. Now people are being asked to remember 25 or 30. We haven't really thought about cyber security expanding and what it has done to people."
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