Use a Password Manager? No way!!

In the before times, when I was still what some of you would call a “normie,” whenever someone suggested I use a Password Manager, my response was . . .

“I’m busy here — can’t you see I’m busy? Why are you asking me to do . . . ONE. MORE. THING?”

Advice delivered this way felt more like an imposition than an invitation.

The messaging I heard simply wasn’t persuasive.

Eventually . . . waaay too late in the game (sorry to say) I tried a Password Manager.

What an eye-opening experience. Now I’m a raving fan.

Password Managers, when used correctly, make online life so much simpler.

But if they’re so awesome, why do only 7% of online adults use Password Manager apps, and only 6% of adults save passwords in their browser’s built-in Password Manager?

Tech folks have done an amazing job of solving a painful tech problem. But the messaging directed to the general public hasn’t moved the needle near far enough. The industry simply hasn’t found the right messaging yet.

What’s the right message?

A message that persuades.

Thinking about the guidance from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, what if we tried something like this:

******

Everyone hates passwords. Now you can eliminate 95% of the Pain of Passwords. Today.

Password Managers create long, truly complex passwords composed of random characters that look like r8:W3=7uU0VpcS; impossible to remember but — that’s the point. Correctly using a Password Manager means you are:

Free from the chore of thinking up passwords.

Free from the burden of memorizing passwords.

Free from the worry of forgetting passwords.

Free from the bother of typing passwords.

Free from the hassle of frequently resetting passwords.

Using a Password Manager also massively shortens the length of the interruption you experience as you work online. Nobody likes to be interrupted.

By correctly using a Password Manager, you don’t even have to know what your passwords are, if you don’t want to, which is a huge relief. You can eliminate 95% of the pain of passwords. Right Now. Today. Not sometime in the future.

This is our current reality.

*******

This is a faithful description of my personal experience using a Password Manager.

Would this message resonate with consumers?

No crystal ball here, but given the low adoption rate of Password Managers, isn’t it worth a try?

The EFF would also suggest that consumers use a DiceWare passphrase to unlock their devices, and to secure their Password Manager.

And if their eyes haven’t glazed over yet, we’d tell folks to use Multi-Factor authentication like a YubiKey or authenticator app for critical online accounts.

But simply as a starting point, perhaps a bolder, more pointed message like the one above would be worth a try.

What do you think?

— Anthony Collette

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