Beyond the Password Era: Changing Consumer Habits Signal the End Is Near

The death of the password has been rumored for years, but to this day it remains the primary way we identify ourselves online, with the average user now managing well over 100 accounts that require a password. Yet changing tides in the cybersecurity landscape, combined with evolving technology and consumer preferences, indicate that the end of the password era may finally be at hand.

Consumers Embrace Alternatives to Password Protection

In the wake of countless data breaches, consumers are becoming increasingly security-aware and open to changes in the way they identify themselves online. In a recent IBM Security study, respondents ranked security as their top priority over convenience when logging in to the majority of applications.

As options such as biometrics, multifactor authentication (MFA) and password managers become more advanced, consumers are already starting to move beyond password-only approaches and embrace a new future of identity. The IBM study found that fingerprint scans are seen as the most secure method of authentication. In addition, 67 percent of consumers are using biometric authentication today, while 87 percent said they’d be open to this technology in the future.

Millennials, currently the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, are at the forefront of driving these changes. With a stronger preference for convenience, younger generations are the most likely to embrace biometrics. They are also twice as likely as older generations (ages 55+) to use a password manager to lock down their accounts.

‘Today’ Takes a Closer Look at the Future of Identity

NBC’s Tom Costello recently joined IBM X-Force experts at the Cyber Range in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to discuss why password-only approaches are becoming obsolete and what the future may hold in terms of how we prove our identities online.

Check out the full “Today” segment, along with tips to protect yourself online:

The Password Problem - Video

To learn more about consumer trends around identity and access, check out IBM’s “Future of Identity Study.” You can also get highlights and additional analysis from this infographic, podcast and blog series.

Read the complete “IBM Future of Identity Study”

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Cassy Lalan

External Relations

Cassy Lalan manages communications campaigns for IBM Security, working closely with product and research teams to create interesting stories for media and other external audiences. She’s particularly focused on driving IBM thought leadership around issues and trends such as the cybersecurity talent gap and the intersection of AI and security. Cassy has worked in cybersecurity since 2010, and has helped drive numerous campaigns which have received awards including Stevie Award for Workforce Development & Learning, PR World Award for Technology Campaign of the Year, and SABRE Award for Events & Sponsorship. In her free time Cassy enjoys international travel and has visited more than 20 countries and several wonders of the world such as Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and the Colosseum.