Would it surprise you to learn that the average person has 191 passwords? What’s not surprising is that people reuse old passwords even though they know better because there’s no way they can remember 191 different passwords. Unfortunately, 81% of confirmed data breaches are due to reused, weak, or stolen passwords. But why do we even have all these passwords, to begin with?
When computers first began to be networked together, passwords were implemented in order to ensure everyone had equal access to the mainframe and their own set of files. Because everyone had their own access points and files, passwords were necessary. Just two years after this system was implemented a Ph.D. candidate whose time using the system was too heavily limited for him to do his research printed the mainframe’s password file so he could use other colleagues’ login credentials to get the time he needed to complete his work.
It took over a decade to get encryption for passwords, and this one-way encryption that translates passwords into numbers and is never stored on devices is still the same basic thing that is in use today. Just a few years after that a process of adding random characters into that encryption was developed (called salt), and password protection has steadily advanced from there.
In 1988 the Morris Worm, originally intended as an experiment, infected one in ten networked computers within 24 hours. This sparked a new era of cybersecurity to protect passwords and the devices they were used for.
Today password management apps are almost necessary for everyone with any sort of online accounts. Especially with more people working from home on BYO devices, password hygiene is more important than ever.