Literacy, levels of personal freedom, and other macro-social factors help determine how strong average passwords are in a given locale, researchers have found.

When it comes to choosing passwords, it turns out that a person’s country of residence has an impact on the strength of their choice.

Researchers from GoSecure have uncovered four primary macro-social factors that strongly correlate to positive password performance (measured by the time it takes to crack the credential, in seconds). Those are:

  • Level of human rights in-country and its degree of free society;
  • Literacy level of a population;
  • Country’s placement in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI); and
  • Level of data-breach exposure and victimization.

“Countries have an impact on the level of protection of their users,” according to the report, released this week. “A user’s country of origin and/or residence necessarily has an impact on their social identity. It means that our social identity, which can be influenced by several levels (e.g., macro and micro), might have an impact on password choice.”

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