Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Password Usability Research

Password Usability Research


The usability scientists at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) are conducting an independent research project on password usability. Passwords are the source of many cartoons and office jokes. These cartoons and jokes are not based on good scientific data but rather on anecdotal evidence.


The research project on password usability is part of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI). It is imperative to collect data with a sound scientific basis that can inform password policies in the future. The first phase of this research will be carried out using an online survey. The primary purpose of this survey is to find out how passwords affect federal employees' job, how users manage their passwords, and what challenges users are facing with the passwords. The results of this survey will be used to improve the usability of passwords and the login process. For any questions, please contact Mary Theofanos (mary.theofanos [at] (mary[dot]theofanos[at]nist[dot]gov)) at (301) 975-5889 or Yee-Yin Choong (yee-yin.choong [at] (yee-yin[dot]choong[at]nist[dot]gov)) at (301) 975-3248.

Created January 18, 2011, Updated September 21, 2016