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Predicting the Adoption of Password Managers: A Tale of Two Samples

Keywords: technology adoption, cybersecurity, password managers, individual differences, cybersecurity knowledge

Published onNov 03, 2021
Predicting the Adoption of Password Managers: A Tale of Two Samples


Using weak passwords and re-using passwords can make one vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches. Cybersecurity experts recommend the adoption of password managers (PMs), as they generate and store strong passwords for all accounts. Prior research has shown that few people adopt PMs. Our research examined PM adoption in a sample of 221 undergraduates from psychology courses and a sample of 278 MTurk workers. We hypothesized that PM adoption could be predicted using a small set of user characteristics (i.e., gender, age, Big Five personality traits, number of devices used, frequency of using social media, and cybersecurity knowledge). The results showed that compared to students, MTurkers used more devices, used social media less often, had higher levels of cybersecurity knowledge, and were more likely to know what PMs are (93% vs. 33% ). Of those who knew about PMs, only 40% of MTurkers and 47% of students reported using one. Those higher in cybersecurity knowledge were more likely to use PMs. Logistic multiple regression was used to predict which participants used PMs. The results showed that the results differed for MTurkers and students. For students, the model correctly classified 84.2% of participants; two predictors were significant. Those with higher levels of cybersecurity knowledge were more likely to use PMs, and those who used social media more often and were more likely to use PMs. For MTurkers, the model was not significant. The results may be useful to those who develop and implement campaigns to promote password managers and other recommended cybersecurity practices.


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