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Puerto Rico ‘forgets’ passwords the least in US

Reduced internet usage contributes to fewer security concerns, for which an expert provides insights.

Puerto Rico has fewer password inquiries than any other U.S. state or territory, but residents are also online less frequently. An article by Earthweb, which offers tech and online privacy guides. posits that this could be due to the island’s digital infrastructure, which suffered significant damage during Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Fiona in 2017 and 2022, respectively. 

The frequent power outages resulting from these natural disasters have made internet connections less reliable, leading to one of the lowest rates of internet subscribers in the United States. However, despite infrastructure challenges, Puerto Rico had almost three-quarters of its population online in 2019, making it one of the largest online populations in the Caribbean, according to Statista. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping, with many Puerto Ricans trying e-commerce for the first time, particularly older consumers who traditionally shopped in person.

The youth’s internet usage in Puerto Rico has been trending toward mobile broadband connections – mobile lines accounted for more than 80% of broadband internet subscriptions by the end of 2019 – and a preference for streaming platforms like Netflix and social networking sites, with Facebook remaining the most popular.

The 5 Least Forgetful States

Rank State Password Inquiries Per 100,000 People
1 Puerto Rico 1.22
2 Utah 3.05
3 Idaho 3.26
4 Arizona 3.32
5 Mississippi 3.36

Comparisons on usage to the rest of the U.S. aside, the advice of most cybersecurity experts is to not use the same passwords for multiple online accounts. 

“With the average American juggling over 100 passwords, it’s no wonder that memory struggles are common. Shockingly, nearly 60% of individuals confess to resorting to password repetition, a grave misstep in digital hygiene. Striking a balance between security and manageability becomes challenging when each person is expected to maintain such a vast array of unique passwords,” Earthweb notes. 

Trevor Cooke, an online privacy expert at Earthweb, examined which states “are most and least prone to password forgetfulness.”

The Top 10 most forgetful states

Rank State Password Inquiries Per 100,000 People
1 District of Columbia (DC) 11.11
2 New York 10.74
3 Nevada 5.73
4 Virginia 5.41
5 Wyoming 5.12
6 Illinois 5.12
7 Colorado 5.10
8 North Carolina 5.10
9 Texas 5.01
10 Georgia 5

New Yorkers make more than twice as many password inquiries as the median state, rendering the state a high outlier along with DC. New York has also established itself as a hotspot for high-security jobs, and since Manhattan is one the most significant financial centers in the world, users in this job sector may succumb to the same password challenges as those in DC.

According to Cooke’s research, the District of Columbia residents make nearly 11 times more password inquiries than Puerto Rico’s. 

“This phenomenon could stem from the fact that DC is a hub for security-conscious jobs, such as positions in the government and intelligence services,” where complex passwords are needed. 

New York follows “as one of the top states in the U.S. for remote jobs, which likely leads to more workers needing to access business accounts on personal computers,” Earthweb says. 

“When people work in an office, there are more in-person resources to help them with password problems,” notes Trevor. “The shifting trend toward remote work puts the onus on individuals to keep track of system logins.”

Trevor’s tips for remembering your passwords: 

– Use a reputable password manager

“Let your computer remember your passwords for you!” Earthweb stresses. 

“Make sure to do your research and choose a provider with strong encryption and features like automatic form filling and device synchronization,” says Trevor. 

– Use mnemonic devices 

Mnemonic devices can be used to create easily remembered, secure passwords.

“Using your dog’s name for every login will guarantee you’ll remember your password, but it isn’t very secure. Instead, make up a little phrase that is memorable to you and make it into a code using numbers, letters, and symbols. For example: ‘My Portuguese Water Dog’s name is Bailey and she is three years old!’ can be ‘MPWDniBasi3yo!’

– Use numbers and symbols instead of vowels 

Having many numbers and symbols in a password is excellent for security, but words are much easier to remember. Make a code for yourself where vowels are the key. For example, A=5 and E=?, so the word ‘babel’ becomes ‘b5b?l,’” the Earthweb explains.

“Using even one symbol makes a password much more difficult for cybercriminals to crack,” Trevor says. “Try creating a password that looks like nonsense, but is meaningful to you.”

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