Hack warnings prompt cyber ‘security fatigue’

October 6, 2016

Many ignored warnings they received, found the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Others were worn out by software updates and by the number of passwords they had to remember, NIST found.

This “risky behaviour” might make people more susceptible to attack, it warned.

Inevitable attack

“We weren’t even looking for fatigue in our interviews, but we got this overwhelming feeling of weariness throughout all of the data,” said computer scientist Mary Theofanos, one of the experts who co-ordinated the study.

Responses from subjects revealed that many felt “overwhelmed” by having to be alert for digital threats at all times, remembering to act safely online and by the different security and privacy policies on the sites they used.

Others were worn down by the number of passwords, Pins and other secure credentials they had to remember.

“Years ago, you had one password to keep up with at work,” said Ms Theofanos. “Now people are being asked to remember 25 or 30.”

Many were frustrated by the extra security steps they had to go through to get at “their stuff” in online bank accounts or on other websites.

“We haven’t really thought about cybersecurity expanding and what it has done to people,” she added.

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