Thycotic 300 billion passwords

Dismissing a popular theory that passwords are a dying breed, a new report from market and intelligence firm Cybersecurity Ventures and privileged account management solution provider Thycotic predicts that the number of passwords used among humans and machines worldwide will grow to 300 billion by 2020 – all of which will require cyber protection.

Furthermore, the report estimates that Fortune 500 company employees in 2020 will own an average of 90 business and personal accounts that will require log-in IDs and passwords – meaning they will collectively be managing approximately 5.4 billion passwords. In an on-camera interview, report co-author and Thycotic Cyber Strategist Joseph Carson also told SC Media that the average individual will have to manage 60 to 90 accounts by 2020.

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Meanwhile, the ongoing proliferation of Internet of Things devices will necessitate the use of more machine-based passwords. In fact, the report predicts that about two-thirds of the estimated 300 billion passwords in 2020 will be used by machines.

The report warns that the need for multiple passwords can cause users to suffer from security fatigue, resulting in lazy behaviors such as using the same passwords across multiple accounts. To combat this fatigue, Carson recommended that users adopt password management solutions that specialize in “helping automate the rotation of passwords so you don't have to,” while reducing risk to your accounts and their sensitive data.

Steve Morgan, founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures, also co-authored the report. See the above video for more insights.