The internet started becoming the main reason that household PSTN (public switched telephone network) lines stayed busy sometime in the mid to late 1990s. Over the next decade, a number of online services completely changed the interaction of society with technology. From email to the dawn of e-commerce, these services increasingly tied people to technology and the Internet.
Although the concept of a password was prevalent in many technology disciplines and domains, the general public had little knowledge of it, with the exception of PINs for their debit cards. It was the Internet that introduced the concept of password security to them. From that point on, people realized they had to remember passwords to access their email accounts, favorite e-commerce sites, and so on.