Writing Down Your Password: Does It Help?

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Provided by: Carleton University
Topic: Security
Format: PDF
Users are able to remember their phone numbers and postal codes, their student numbers, PIN numbers, and social insurance numbers. Why, then, do users have trouble remembering their passwords? This paper considers the hypothesis that being able to access written notes when needed would eventually help users to memorize the password. Further the authors hypothesize that writing down passwords encourages the use of passwords that are more complex than their unwritten (memorized) counterparts. They surveyed 31 participants on their opinions and experiences with writing down passwords and tested whether these participants created more complex passwords when they were encouraged to write them down. Finally, they observed whether written passwords had higher login success rates when tested again at least one week later.
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