Research explores which passwords Americans forget the most and why 

New research by NordPass reveals that email passwords are the most forgotten. In total, 40% of people who are searching how to reset a certain password want to know how to reset their email password. Among various email providers, Gmail is the leading one.

The second most searched query (25%) was how to reset passwords on various operational systems. Password reset for Google accounts was the third most searched query (16%), followed by some generic searches (8%), such as “forgot password” or “change password”. Even less searched were social media providers (5%), entertainment (4%), various devices (1%), and productivity applications (1%).

Why do people forget their email password more often than others? Earlier this year, a NordPass survey revealed that email accounts are one of the most valued ones. In the US, 73% of respondents believe it would be very or extremely harmful if their email account was hacked. However, only 46% of those surveyed use a unique password to protect it. “It also appears that most respondents have their password saved on their computer and 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,” says Chad Hammond, a security expert at NordPass.

People seem to remember passwords from their productivity applications the best or they rarely search for resetting instructions on those. Why? “According to the same password habits survey from April 2020, users rarely use unique passwords to protect their productivity applications. Only 21% of respondents from the US use a unique password. Since the passwords are simple and memorable, users are less likely to forget them and don’t need to search how to reset them,” says the NordPass security expert.

study conducted by Rutgers-New Brunswick and Aalto University in Finland suggests another theory on why people forget their passwords so often. According to the study, the likelihood of remembering a password has less to do with its complexity than with how often we anticipate using it. In other words, 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. 

For those struggling with effective password management, security experts advise to rely on password managers. “These tools will not only remember your password for you and make it secure and convenient, but will also help you generate unique credentials as well as check if they have been breached before”, says Chad Hammond.

ABOUT NORDPASS

NordPass is a new generation password manager shaped with cutting-edge technology, zero-knowledge encryption, simplicity, and intuitive design in mind. It securely stores and organizes passwords by keeping them in one convenient place. NordPass was created by the cybersecurity experts behind NordVPN — one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world. For more information: nordpass.com.