Grant / January 2020

Re-imagining Password Management for Low-Technology Proficiency Users

Passwords and login information control access to some of the most important aspects of life, such as banking and finances, medical services, and other sensitive personal information. According to Pew Research, 44% of online adults ages 30 to 64 say they have a hard time keeping track of their passwords. These “password-challenged” internet users are more likely to keep track of their passwords by writing them down on a piece of paper, saving them in a digital note, or by saving them in their web browser, all things that are considered less desirable practices among cybersecurity experts. This research project aims to design a solution that constructively engages competing values of security and ergonomics as it relates to the development of password management systems. The researchers will integrate concepts from areas such user experience design, privacy & security, and behavioral economics to develop a tool that achieves balance among these competing values. Their objective is to improve password generation habits with a tool that strengthens digital security and reduces the potential for breaches and privacy harms.