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Do you know why and how you forget passwords?

Do you often forget passwords for the many different accounts and websites? Much depends on the importance of a password and how often you use it, according to a study that could drive better password technology and usage.

"Websites aim to tell users if their passwords are weak or strong, but they don't help people remember passwords," said the study's co-author.

“Our model can be used to predict the rememberability of passwords, measure whether people remember them, and incentivize users of password systems to incentivize people to log in regularly,” the researcher said. “By logging in more often, people can remember their passwords.”

Text-based passwords are known to be difficult to remember and people prefer simple, unsecured passwords. The study found evidence that human memory adapts naturally based on an estimate of how often a password will be needed. Important, frequently used passwords are less likely to be forgotten.

"A lot of people struggle with passwords because you need a lot of them these days," the researcher said. “People get frustrated. Our main findings are that password forgetting fits well with one of the psychological theories of memory and predicting password forgetting.