Skip to main content

Is this the end of the username and password combo?

The username and password combination has been with us for a long time, but we're increasingly seeing its shortcomings for protecting sensitive data.

A new survey of 24,000 consumers across six continents by technology services and consulting company Accenture (opens in new tab) reveals that 60 per cent of consumers find passwords cumbersome and more than three-quarters worldwide would be open to using alternatives.

"The widespread practice of typing usernames and passwords to log on to the Internet might soon become obsolete," says Robin Murdoch, managing director of Accenture's Internet and Social business segment. "Consumers are increasingly frustrated with these traditional methods because they are becoming less reliable for protecting their personal data such as email addresses, mobile phone numbers and purchasing history".

Users in China and India are most likely to be open to alternatives, at 92 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively. More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of consumers in each of Brazil, Mexico and Sweden, and 74 per cent in the United States, are also willing to consider security methods other than usernames and passwords.

Accenture password attitudes

The survey also shows a general lack of faith in the security of personal data. Fewer than half (46 per cent) of consumers globally are confident in the security of their information. Those in emerging countries are slightly more confident in the security of their personal data than were those in developed nations, at 50 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

"As hackers use more-sophisticated and less-obvious methods, passwords are no longer seen as the definitive answers to the security question," Murdoch adds. "Traditional one-step passwords are now being matched with alternative methods using biometric technologies such as fingerprint recognition and two-step device verification. Within the next few years we are likely to see many more consumers embracing these and other alternative methods".

You can read more in the full report Digital Trust in the IoT Era (opens in new tab) which is available to download from the Accenture website.

Photo Credit: Dr. Cloud (opens in new tab)/Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.