Although a number of tech companies have been working hard to create new and ever more robust security and authentication protocols, a recent survey revealed that the American public in general remains highly skeptical of the new procedures, and only a tiny fraction of the population actually employs them.
The survey results reveal that more than half of all Americans prefer text based passwords to biometric security measures such as fingerprint or retinal scanners. In fact, only one person in ten considers these to be virtually risk free and is comfortable using the technology.
Nearly half of all survey respondents (42%) indicated that the main reason for their suspicion and reluctance to use the more secure technology stems from the fear that companies will keep the information on file, either to use later, or to resell. Less than 2% of survey respondents had used both a thumbnail reader and a retinal scanner.
This is highly problematic on a number of fronts, but the two biggest concerns are these:
First, Americans have displayed an enormous amount of mistrust of the business community at large. For the right entrepreneur, this represents a significant opportunity if a means can be found to regain or restore that trust.
Second, most people who use text based passwords (which is, of course, most people, at least in the United States), tend to use extraordinarily weak ones. Either numbers in a sequence like '123456' or some bit of easily obtained personal information.
This represents a glaring security flaw that's not easily fixed. Even if you require passwords to be regularly changed, and set up elaborate parameters about character usage, the reality is that most users will gravitate to using passwords they can remember easily. Failing that, they'll simply write them down, which creates a whole new set of security problems.
The bottom line here: The state of password security in America is fairly bad, and it doesn't seem as though it will get better any time soon.